A summertime ritual turned into a nightmare for a group of beachgoers in Florida.
Michael Dumas was buried in the sand on Pompano Beach with friends when he contracted hookworms on June 20. Dumas reportedly began to suffer earaches and bumps formed under the skin of his legs and thighs.
Doctors diagnosed him with a severe case of hookworms and he developed painful infected sores as a result.
Hookworms are known as soil-transmitted parasite worms, and typically live in the small intestine. The eggs are transmitted through feces of an infected person or animal.
Dumas wasn’t the only one to contract the parasites.
“Seven out of 17 of our group has hookworms," his mother, Kelli Mulhollen Dumas, told Inside Edition.
Several rounds of anti-parasitic medicine haven’t been able to clear the teen’s infection more than a month later, his mom said.
An expert told Inside Edition that you don’t have to be buried in the sand, like Dumas was, to contract hookworms. The worms most likely came from dog feces on the beach, dermatologist Doris Day said.
She said there are things one can do to protect themselves, however.
“Do not walk on the beach in your bare feet," Day said. "Always lie on a towel."