Jamaica has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and I fell in love with one of them: the seven mile beach in Negril.
The sand is powdery, there are long stretches of it (5 miles I am told!) and the slope into the ocean is gentle and slow. Waves for surfing are not my thing as I like soft rocking motions of the ocean as opposed to strong and rough. Here in this area of Negril, the waves are my idea of perfection: gently rolling into shore.
People watching is great fun and there is no lack of opportunity here.
There is a constant to and fro of fruit vendors, musicians and sellers of everything from aloes stems to cooked lobster. You can go para-sailing, horseback riding and kayaking just by raising your arm and asking for the desired service.
There are a few little shops on the beach selling the usual beach wear and a few bars and snack areas. In short, there are the usual accessories of any island paradise….plus peacocks!
I managed to get an extra, unwanted, souvenir from Jamaica: a parasite in the foot.
This showed up a few weeks after my return home. It started with an itchy plaque on the sole of one foot. I saw a doctor at an emergency clinic who was not quite sure what it was and who prescribed a multi purpose cream. Nothing went away. As a matter of fact, the itchiness got worse and it was driving me crazy. A week or so later, I saw a bizarre pattern on the side of my foot. Red lines punctuated by little red dots had travelled up the side of my foot. Another line was making its way around the back of my ankle. Being more than a little squeamish, I panicked. I emailed a friend who is a doctor and asked if she wanted me to send her a picture of my foot. So, armed with her permission, I took pictures of my disgusting foot and sent them to her.(I am not posting them here!)
She identified what it was and immediately asked me to go in to her clinic to show this to her medical students. I was happy to be a part of their education(thank goodness it was on my foot and not elsewhere!… I may not have been so compliant.) The verdict: larva migrans, a worm picked up in moist, cool sand.
To make a long story short, I ended up at the J.D.MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at McGill University(Montreal), where they treated it with pills taken over two days. This treatment kills all of the worms and the larvae. Goodbye itchy buggies.
The lines, however, took a few months to disappear. What did come back quickly was a good night’s sleep, without imagining creepy crawlies in my body.
Now, I am trying to find a closed alternative to flip flops to go to the beach, other than galoshes! Ideas anyone?
Please note that:
*** These exist in many tropical beaches, not only Jamaica.
***The advice is to not go barefoot in the moist shady areas of the beach and do not sit down on the sand in those areas(even with a beach towel) because they can crawl elsewhere than on the foot.
I have included links with information you may like to read. Be forewarned: content is for mature, and not squeamish, readers only.
Definition: Cutaneous larvae migrans is a parasitic skin disease caused by a hookworm larvae that usually infests dogs, cats, and other animals. Humans can pick up the infection by walking barefoot on soil or beaches contaminated with animal feces.
Description: Cutaneous larvae migrans (also called “creeping eruption” or “ground itch”) is found in southeastern and Gulf states, and in tropical developing countries.
The hookworms that cause the condition are small, round blood-sucking worms that infest about 700 million people around the world. Cutaneous larvae migrans occurs most often among children, those who crawl beneath raised buildings, and sunbathers who lie down on wet sand contaminated with hookworm larvae.http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/cutaneous+larva+migrans