Anais Monteagudo is a mom on a mission. She wants to warn parents about a dangerous bacteria that made her 3-year-old extremely sick.
And what’s worse, she says, is that it happened as they were celebrating her little girl’s birthday at a place they love most: The beach.
The mom from South Florida was terrified when she found blisters and angry red sores on her daughter after they spent a day playing in the sand and the water.
“It was basically, like, burning her skin,” Anais said.
What was happening? Had her daughter been bitten by something in the sand? Or, perhaps something in the water? Could it be an allergic reaction?
Anais was worried.
This mystery after a day at the beach was causing her little girl, Aaliyah Casola, to suffer.
What was both heartbreaking and concerning for Anais – the marks on her Aaliyah’s skin would not go away. The sores persisted.
In fact, they would eventually lead to bacterial infections in her child’s skin.
So, how did this happen? What went wrong?
It all started on July 21.
Anais was celebrating her little girl’s third birthday at Crandon Beach in Key Biscayne. It was supposed to be a happy day. But it quickly turned into a nightmare.
It began when the mom noticed her daughter’s skin was red and swollen when they returned home that day. And it persisted.
Anais couldn’t figure out what was plaguing her daughter’s skin.
Sadly, it would go from bad to worse. More and more painful blisters showed up on the 3-year-old. Agonizing sores were all over her face, her arms and her lips.
The mom rushed her little girl to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital for treatment and shared what was happening with family and friends in a Facebook post.
What Anais didn’t realize at the time is that the Miami-Dade County Department of Health had issued “No Swim” advisories on July 18, warning people about the water at Crandon Beach North, Crandon Beach South and Golden Beach.
When Anais found out the reason why – she couldn’t believe it. She felt sick to her stomach. Her heart sank.
High levels of fecal bacteria had been found in the water – the same water where her daughter was playing.
“I was scared because I didn’t know if this was going to affect her, you know, internally,” Anais said.
Aaliyah was treated for not one, but two bacterial skin infections.
It turns out, her daughter wasn’t the only child who was suffering.
“Basically, they said that there’s been a lot of cases from Key Biscayne that are coming in with infections. A lot of kids,” Anais said.
Last Tuesday, that advisory was finally lifted. County health officials released a statement saying that after testing the water samples repeatedly, the findings met the recreational quality standards.
But Anais says it was too late for little Aaliyah.
“There’s significant scars. I mean, you can see here,” she said, pointing to her daughter’s arms and hands.
Now, this concerned mother is warning other moms, dads and families. She doesn’t want any other child to go through what her three-year-old has had to endure.
Her best piece of advice?
She says it’s simple – if you want to take your children to the beach, do your homework first. Whatever location you choose, she advises parents to check the latest water advisories with that health department first.
“Always check the website like they say,” she said. “I was a little bit naive.”