Who doesn't dream of a romantic, moonlight walk along the beach? Walking barefoot, feeling the sand between your toes. Sounds delightful.
But a couple of weeks ago, a Canadian couple returned from their vacation in the Domincan Republic to discover that the itchiness they were experiencing in their feet was the result of hookworms that they picked up from that barefoot walk on the beach.
According to the CDC:
The parasite species that cause cutaneous larva migrans — commonly known as hookworms or whipworms — mostly live in the small intestine but can be passed in the feces of an infected person or animal, depending on the species. If that person defecates outside, or if the feces is used as fertilizer, as it is in some countries, the eggs can be deposited in the soil. Some species prefer sand. Infections are most common in the Americas.
The most common source of infections is walking barefoot through contaminated soil.
(I'll let you pause here until you've finished shuddering.)
This little story has made all the major news outlets. I saw it several times in my newsfeed over the last several days. The media just LOVES to push stories like this. It's tantalizing clickbait posing as actual health news. And I'm sure it scares the bejeezus out of anyone who reads it. Panicked soccer moms start Googling to find out if any local beaches have been the source of infection. Hypochondriacs make frantic calls to their doctors complaining of itchy feet. Of course, these infections are rare in North America (or it wouldn't be "news") and most of us have nothing to worry about.
I clicked on the picture to get a better look at this poor woman's disgusting parasite infested feet (I know. I'm sick.) Here's the link to her Facebook page if you want to see for yourself: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10159992169025551&set=pcb.10159990850770551&type=3&theater
But that's where I found the part of the story that the media ISN'T REPORTING: according to the unfortunate tourist herself:
"Also, to top it off Health Canada denied our request to receive the medicine (ivermectin) we needed to treat our infection and were forced to get medicine from the states. Thank you Canada for your lovely health care you provide for us!"
Get that? These 2 Canadians return from a foreign vacation with hookworms in their feet and Health Canada - that would be the Canadian government run health care system (their version of Britain's NHS) DENIED THEIR REQUEST FOR THE MEDICINE THEY NEEDED TO TREAT IT! Note, the government run health insurance program did not refuse to PAY for the treatment, they refused to provide the medication at all! And where does an afflicted Canadian turn for health care when they are denied by their own government?
Why, to the United States of course.
And this my friends is why I am so adamantly opposed to socialized medicine. All of my liberal friends think it would be SOOOOO WONDERFUL because everything would be "free." First of all, there's no such thing as "free." There is no "free healthcare." There is only healthcare that is paid for by other people through high taxes. Countries that provide government run health care inevitably run into long wait times, shortages and denial of treatment. I know health care expenses in the US can be high. My company must have set a record on co-pays because my last trip to the ER set me back $750. I told my husband just to let me die next time (and he replied "For $750? Next time I WILL.")
But ask yourself: if your choice is between paying out of your own pocket for antibiotics or putting up with parasites crawling around in your feet, which would you rather have?