How to Remove Leeches

How to Remove Leeches

Sometimes, exploring the woods can leave you with undesirable surprises. One of them is realizing that there is one or more leeches attached to you. This can trigger panic right away. The thought of having a creature sucking your blood can be frightening after all. Here are the details on how to remove leeches from your body.

Identify the Leech’s Sucker

The mouth or sucker is often at the end of the narrower part of the leech. Get a flat object (ruler or a credit card) and slide it between your skin and the sucker.

  1. Grab the body

Do this once the sucker detaches. This will allow the posterior sucker to detach as well. Once you are free of the leech, return it to the water or place it in foliage.

  1. Waiting is an option

These tiny animals will only feed for a little over 30 minutes. They will drop to the ground once they are done. If you only have one leech attached to you and you do not have anything to remove the suckers with, just wait. But waiting is not an option if you have more than one consuming your blood.

  1. Clean the bite area

Use an antiseptic and water to clean the bite area. Dry it and then clean it again. This time, with hydrogen peroxide. This will reduce the effects of the leech’s anticoagulant.

What Not to Do

Through the years, people have invented many ways to remove leeches. Some have tried swatting and then grabbing the body. This is not a good practice because the leech could vomit the bacteria-saturated blood. Other people burn or pour vinegar on the tiny animal. This is a cruel method. It also increases your risk of infection.

Are Leech Bites Harmful?

No, they are not. Most of these bites are a small flesh wound. They could result in bleeding and a small wound. If you stop the bleeding, you will not suffer from prolonged side effects. A leech bite can bleed a lot because of the anticoagulant in a leech’s saliva. This compound allows the leech to feed more easily. Without treatment, you can bleed for up to 10 hours from one leech bite.

The danger usually results from the improper removal of a leech’s suckers. If the leech vomits, the unsterilized gut of the leech will pour out the bacteria-filled blood onto the open wound. That is why you must remove each leech properly.

Avoiding Leech Bites

Preventing leeches from attaching to you in the first place is much better than removing them. Leeches are like any other animal. If you wander into its territory, they will surely be curious about you. Limiting the access of these leeches to your skin is a priority. Tuck your pant legs into your long hiking socks. Do the same to your shirt.

Anti-leech socks can protect your skin better than ordinary ones. These socks may look like ones that you see in a circus but they protect well and help you spot the leeches right away. Treat your clothes with insect repellent or tobacco spray. You can also check your legs regularly for leeches. Also, resist the temptation of jumping into murky bodies of water.

Leeches are opportunistic parasites. They can attach to you anytime during your hike. Avoiding them is the best way to prevent possible infections. But if you do get a leech on your skin, the mentioned ways to detach them are the safest.

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