5 Gross Questions About Hookworms

Parasite Point of EntryIs The Hookworm Alive Inside Me?

Yes, it’s alive. EEK!

Cutaneous larva migrans are parasites in the Hookworm family that enter the body through the foot.

The parasite can live inside you for a good amount of time (longer than you’d think!) and can cause itching, burning rashes.

You can often see a characteristic winding little red trail that is certain to creep you out. The NICKNAMES for this parasite even creep me out:

  • Sandworms
  • Hookworms
  • Ground Itch
  • The scientific name actually means ‘wandering larvae in the skin’ (excuse me, fainting).

Is the Hookworm Parasite Contagious? 

No, you can’t give it to someone else, but it is easy to acquire if you’re in the right place at the right time…like on vacation.

Or on a mission trip, like the young man in this video.

That’s why we’re always warning our patients to wear shoes, even at the beach. Parasites love to thrive in the sand in certain locales, especially in tropical climates.

Is It Going To Slither Out Of Me? 

No, it will die & disintegrate inside of you once the treatments take effect.

Sounds gross, but it’s not anything you will notice…you will just notice that with some local wound care, your feet should be on the path to recovery.

You can see and feel improvement as fast as 48 hours, or it can sometimes take a second round of medications. Early detection is key.

How Do You Prevent Hookworms in Your Feet?

The best, almost sure-fire way to prevent this parasite from getting into your foot is to wear shoes at all times. I know, it’s not a popular answer!

You’re at the beach! You’re on vacation!

Here’s the thing…it’s not always popular when the Optometrist tells you to take your contacts out each and every night…but it’s the right thing to do if you really want to be a stickler about preventing eye infections.

So, I’m going to give you the same type of advice.

WEAR. SOME. SANDALS.

You’re getting that parasite from some eggs that are found likely in a dog’s feces and then you’re stepping in that same sandy area. It’s going to be tough for me too…

I don’t alwaaaaaays wear sandals on the beach, but I will probably more now.

Yeah, But How Does It Get IN TO ME???

This thing of nightmares can get in through perfectly intact skin…no cut or scrape needed.

Good news – it can’t get into your lungs or organs like it can in animals. Shew.

Why? I don’t know…but that’s why you see the little windy trail of red. It’s staying right there under the skin and not burrowing deeper into your body. (Ok, I’ll stop now.)

Run To Your Podiatrist

You should seek treatment immediately if you suspect you have a parasite.

Go on, Google a terrible hookworm infection.

I’ll wait.

Here’s a couple that make me squirm.

See? You’ll want a medication to kill that pesky parasite immediately. You don’t want to develop a nasty secondary infection either from all the itching and scratching.

I’m glad we’ve had this little talk. I know at the very least, you’ll think of me (fondly?) the next time you burrow your toes into some nice, warm sand!

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