It seemed like harmless good fun: Friends buried 17-year-old Michael Dumas of Memphis in the sand at Florida's Pompano Beach while on a church trip last month. Then came the hookworms, reports LocalMemphis. Dumas' mother, Kelli, says her son developed the parasite in one of his feet, and she has the graphic photos to prove it. (Click here if you can't resist.) "He is in pain and this is awful,” Dumas wrote of her son, who is now home. “Never be buried in sand or allow your children to be either.” Plus, the meds to treat the parasite have cost $1,300.
How does one get hookworms at the beach? “Basically, you would have to get contamination of the sand from fecal material,” the director of the University of Florida's Pathogens Institute tells the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “It can happen.” Live Science explains further: Some forms of hookworm can be passed from dogs and cats to humans, so if a dog defecates on the beach and then unwitting humans step in it with their bare feet, voila. One slightly bright spot: The worms typically don't live longer than six weeks in people. (Read more beach stories.)