So many of us dream of talking a long romantic stroll on a sandy beach. Millions of people visit countries around the world for their hot beaches and gorgeous weather. One couple recently went on just such a vacation, but now they're warning others.
Eddie Zytner and Katie Stephens are like many young couples. Full of love and seeking adventure they booked two tickets to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The area is a well-known tourist destination, famous for having miles of clean beaches and beautiful clear water.
The couple was taking full advantage of everything their resort had to offer - drinks, pools, long stretches of beach - when something went wrong.
Zytner and Stephens walked along the sand, hand in hand, but after a while their feet started to itch.
"I feel obligated to make this post for anyone travelling to the Caribbean," wrote Zytner on Facebook.
"My girlfriend and I returned from the IFA Villas Bavaro Resort in Punta Cana last week to find our feet very itchy."
He describes what happened in detail. After waking up the next day, he realized his feet were now swelling up and the itch remained, his girlfriend had the same problem. It got so bad they went to the hospital.
"At first they thought it was sand fleas, wrapped me up, told me to come back for a check up tomorrow and sent me on my way," he said.
But the next day, their feet began to blister. He went back to the hospital, but the doctors had no idea what was happening.
"When I went back to the hospital on Monday we were very, very fortunate the doctor in the ER had seen this before - 10 years ago from a tourist returning from Thailand."
They got their diagnosis just in time, as the next day his condition reached "extreme levels."
Zytner and Stephens had contracted Larva Migrans, an infection caused by a type of hookworm that embeds in skin and causes itching, swelling and blistering. The body will eventually defeat the infection, even if no treatment is undertaken. Antibiotics and ointments can greatly reduce the itch and swelling however.
To guard against the infection, Zytner recommends protecting your feet.
"Wear shoes on the beach as much as possible," he said.