Table of Contents
- How to Prevent Leeches From Biting You? – Prevention and Removal Process of Leeches
How to Prevent Leeches From Biting You? – Prevention and Removal Process of Leeches
Next to mosquitoes’ leeches are the one greedy creatures that can feed on your blood and do not give anything in return. But leeches are totally different from mosquitoes. Leeches are the worm-like insects you can say and the most active hunters. There are a number of species in the leech family, and their size depends on the different types of species found across the globe. Generally, leeches are 0.3 to 3 inches long, and their body is composed of 34 segments. They move by crawling or swimming. They can survive in water as well as land. The aquatic leeches are found everywhere, whereas the terrestrial ones are mostly present in South East Asia, the Pacific Island, the India subcontinent, and South America.
Leeches have a high sense of perception. They can predict your presence by your shadow, disturbance in the surrounding, and most importantly leeches are attracted by the heat bodies, your sweat, and even the carbon dioxide you exhale.
Leeches are famous for sucking blood in good as well as bad aspects. In the 17th and 18th centuries, they were widely used as a treatment for bloodletting; the Hirudo Medicinalis was its name. Leeches are blessed with two suckers, one of them surrounds their three jawed mouths, it is quite easy to fasten onto you leaving the leech bite. The anticoagulant in their saliva assists them in sucking the blood by maintaining the flow of blood. These leech bites are harmful and end up leaving an unrecoverable loss.
The amount of blood Leeches can suck at a time is equal to the weight of their body in the multiples of 10 in just 20 minutes and can survive with that amount for a year or more.
1. Leech bite
However, a single leech cannot affect you much as it can only be recognized by some bleeding. But if it happens to be many leeches biting you, then it can give you a severe leech bite and make you think How dangerous can a leech bite be? You come to know if it is a leech bite by the following general symptoms:
- Red blotches
- An itchy rash over the body
- Swelling around the lips or eyes
- A feeling of faintness or dizziness
- Difficulty in breathing
There may be many more symptoms which one could not identify until they consult a doctor.
2. Can you predict how dangerous can a leech bite be?
Yes, one can easily recognize a leech bite, but it’s hard to predict the danger. For some people, it’s just a wound that is heeled in a week or two while for some people it can be more severe as they may be allergic to leeches and end up to anaphylactic, this shows how dangerous can a leech bite be. Sometimes the bleeding caused due to a leech bite lasts for more than a week, and the person is very badly affected. Mostly the leeches bite externally sticking to the surface of your body, but if they are found inside the eyes, ears, noses, throats, urethras, bladders, rectums, vaginas, and stomachs when investigated, the case may be severe. One cannot understand how does the leech manage to enter your body until they have some unusual behavior. Fever, Vomiting, Stomach ache, problems related to urination, and even one can feel them moving inside the body. Their presence in the throat will cause difficulty in breathing or a change in your voice as well. If a leech happens to bite on your eyeballs, then it can cause an unrecoverable loss as we know how sensitive our eyes are. By now you must be thinking Is leech bite a reason to worry, right?
So if the question of is leech bite a reason to worry haunting your minds then here is something that you really need to know to about leech bites.
Of course, it is. After knowing how dangerous leech bites can be, no one would ever think of ignoring a single wound or bleeding. You would only be able to recognize the leech bite if you get any kind of unusual bleeding from your skin or irritation but if the leeches are inside the body, the symptoms mentioned above will help you. If the symptoms, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible to get cured at an early stage. Though it is still not confirmed that these bloodsuckers carry viruses of HIV and Hepatitis B, if this turns to be true you can be at great risk if you think leech bites a not a reason to be worried.
3. What are the best repellents to prevent or cure leech bite?
You can easily say the aquatic leeches would stay wherever the water exists. But it is hard to find the house of terrestrial ones. They are mostly found in freshwater tanks, ponds, and shallow weedy lake. Swamps and pools near paddy fields are the places where they breed. But you should always take protective measures to avoid being bitten by a leech.
- We should always avoid drinking water which is not treated or filtered.
- Avoid buying water bottles which are not sealed or are of unknown brands.
- Avoid swimming at places you don’t know.
- Try wearing full sleeved or fully covered cloth at leech porn areas like forest or dump areas, to avoid them reaching your skin.
- Use good detergent and naphthalene balls.
- Always try to apply moisturizer or antiseptic to prevent infection.
Remember prevention is always better than cure, and the best repellents to prevent or cure leech bite is to take proper precaution.
Whenever we find a wound, we hardly think it to be a leech bite and apply some antiseptic or moisturizer over it. But if it is a leech bite, then you should be well aware of the dangers that you are going to face and how to deal with it. First, try to find out what changes you are facing which will help you know what should be done accordingly. It may sound impossible that a small worm can kill you because we think worms are not so capable, leeches do not cause death, but in extreme cases, it can cause death as well if you ignore them.
4. How would you remove leeches and treating their bites?
At an early stage if you find a leech biting you, try to remove it as soon as possible to prevent any virus transmission or injury. As they fasten the skin with their jaws use your fingernail, knife, card or anything having a sharp pointed edge which would get under their mouthpiece and break the grip of their jaws. Washing the area with soap and water and bandaging it would be the next step of the treatment. Taking one or two antibiotics will help to avoid infection and cure the wound at a faster pace. Hope you get the idea of removing leeches and treating their bites. Leeches are found mostly at places of freshwater and other water sources and are known for sucking blood. They are attracted to warm-blooded animals and feeds on blood until their stomach is full. Sighting a leech stuck to your body may surely make you panic and seek some help, but there may be situations when you should really wait to let the leech detach itself on its own rather than panicking. A leech bite is not very dangerous and will not cause death but may undoubtedly cause infections and pain. They are not poisonous and do not spread any disease, but one needs to get rid of them as this is not something that we would like to have it adhered to our body.
What if you find them inside your body? You cannot reach inside your but if you feel them inside your throat or esophagus try gargling with salt water. Saltwater will remove it from the throat and prevent further vomits.
This is only the basic what you have read, but now let us understand as a whole the process of Removing Leeches and Treating Their Bites:
- Locating the sucker
The head of the leech is actually the sucker by which the leech attaches itself to your body for its sucking the blood task. So firstly you need to find out the sucker of the leech and even if there is one leech sticking on to you, do check for other leeches because there may be a probability that another leech may be clinging to you and you may be completely unaware. Leeches secrete an anesthetic during a leech bite, and thus a person does not come to know about the leech bite. So check properly that there are no other leeches sticking to you.
- Using the fingernail
You can use your fingernail to remove the leech that is sticking to you. You need to locate the sucker and then use your fingernail to remove the sucker from beneath. As soon as you do this, the leech will be disturbed from its task and will try to reattach to your skin but as soon as you feel that the leech has let out its body loose, flick off the leech and get rid of them as quickly as possible. Make sure that you are not yanking the leech otherwise the sucker may be left behind. Even other things like credit card, keys, knife and other sharp things can also be used for leech removal.
- Treating the wound
During a leech bite, an anticoagulant is injected inside the body by the leech which prevents the blood from forming a clot. When the leech is removed, there are chances that the affected area may bleed continuously as clots are not formed. So do not panic in such a case and instead focus on treating the wound to avoid any further Infection and cure the wound by applying a bandage at first. An open wound has more chances to catch infection so make sure that you bandage regularly until the wound heals and is covered at all times. You can also get an itching sensation during the process of healing of the wound but do not panic and stay calm.
- Fill and drop
Leeches drop down and detach from the host’s body as soon as they are filled and fall on their own after an approximate of twenty minutes. So you can wait till this happens on its own so that the sucker part is not left inside when you try to pull the leech by yourself. From ancient times leeches have been used for treatment by the bloodletting process thus it is not something to be afraid of when you get a leech bite. So if you manage to gather courage for yourself, then you can wait till the leech drops by its own.
- Avoid extraction of leech by other methods
There are other methods such as burning the leech, pouring salt on them, spraying repellents, etc. But it is advisable that you stay away from such methods because these methods will surely help you to remove the leech but in return, they can vomit on the wound which may increase the infection and cure may be a long process in such a case. So it is better that you use the fingernail method above all the other techniques of leech removal.
- Find out the depth
Many times it happens that the leech burrows themselves in your body at greater depths especially when you are swimming in places where there is leech population nearby. In such a case it is quite probable that the leech may sting at places such as your ears, mouth, etc. So in such a case, you need to take help of somebody who can help you out to identify the sucker part of the leech and then remove the leech by the fingernail method. If you are not able to find out, then try to stay calm and wait till the leech drops by itself. If the leech happens to be in your mouth, then you can use alcohol for rinsing your mouth which will in turn help in detaching the leech from your mouth. Once you clean your mouth with alcohol, you need to spit it off and check if the leech has come out or not. If the leech has not yet left its place, then you need to gargle again and again till it leaves its grip and comes out. If alcohol is not available at that moment, then you can also use hydrogen peroxide in its place. Also, seek medical attention if this happens to be your case.
- Leech puncture
If you happen to be in a place where you cannot seek medical attention nearby, then the next thing that you should do is to puncture the leech as soon as possible. If the leech happens to attach itself to your nostrils, then it may cause you breathing problems, so make sure that you puncture the leech and kill it at once. Once the leech is dead, remove its body and wash the affected area.
5. Medical attention a must if the situation is worse
There may be a scenario where you cannot remove the leech on your own and treating it by yourself may result in further infections. So in such case don’t be your own doctor and let the real doctors do their task. Doctors are well fledged with instruments and equipment that help in removing the leech which may not hurt you and prevent you from any further infections of a leech bite. Even if you sight some signs of leech allergy such as dizziness, rashes, swelling, a problem in breathing then seek for medical assistance as soon as possible and take an antihistamine.
- Be careful
Treating leeches is not only about getting treatment after you get a leech bite but it is also about the safety and care that you need to take at places where there are chances of getting a leech bite. When you are swimming, make sure that the place is not populated by leeches or you are sure to come out with leeches sticking on your body. Also, make sure that you are wearing full sleeved clothes when you are out at places where there are chances of spotting leeches. Leeches have a tendency to get attracted to warm-blooded animals, and thus clothes can act as a protective factor to save you from a leech bite. Also cover your feet with proper shoes and remember to wear shoes instead of sandals when you are going to a place that is inhibited by leeches. A jungle trail is a sure shot call for proper shoes and clothes that can cover your body well.
- Leech repellants
Another method of taking precaution to save yourself from a leech bite is that make sure that you have applied insect repellents on yourself. You can spray the insect repellent on your clothes and skin and apply it again whenever you feel that the effect of the repellants has gone with the winds. You can also use tobacco as a repellent because leeches have a tendency to stay away from the smell of tobacco. You can insert some tobacco in your socks to keep these leeches away from you. You can also apply soap and detergent on your clothes and hands because this also acts as a leech repellant.