If you ever went on hikes in the woods, swam in a body of water, or watched the film Stand By Me, chances are you know what leeches are, how they look like, and what they can do the moment they find their way to your skin. Leeches are among those creatures that often receive a bad rap. This is not a big surprise because one look at them and you can’t help but recoil from their ugly appearance. You probably think that outdoorsy people don’t give much care about these ugly creatures. However, many people don’t like leeches at all. But, once you know how to get leeches off the right way, they are pretty much harmless.
Facts about Leeches
There are several facts about leeches most people probably didn’t know. Check out the following:
- Not all leeches suck blood – The truth is that very few leeches actually feed on human blood.
- They tend to get very big – The gigantic Amazon leech can grow as much as 18 inches the live for as long as 20 years.
- They could be great bait – All experts fisherman know this effective trick.
- There are certain species that can be amazingly caring parents – They lay eggs, cover these with their own bodies then fan the eggs to prevent bacteria or fungus from getting on them. Once the eggs hatch, these will then attach to the parent.
- Leech scientists often use themselves as the bait – Needless to say, the most ideal way to learn more about a certain species is to allow them to suck your own blood.
- They have made a big comeback in the field of medicine – Surgeons right now keep these on hand inside operating rooms and use them as mini-vacuums for cleaning up blood.
- They can be found everywhere – All continents all over the world has leeches, with Antarctica being the only exception, although the Antarctic waters still got marine leeches.
- You could be the next discoverer of new species – Scientists have found around 700 different species yet there are still so much to discover out there.
Simple Steps on How to Get Leeches Off
Probably the easiest and simples way on how to get leeches off is to just wait until it had its fill since this will drop off from your skin on its own once it finished feeding. In case you couldn’t wait for 20 minutes or so to remove these suckers, follow these steps on how to safely pull off a leech:
- Find the mouth of the leech which is located at the thinner and smaller end of the body.
- Put your fingers on your skin near its mouth.
- Slide your fingernail little by little to the mouth then push this to the side. It will push off the mouth of the leech instead of pulling it, which then helps reduce any damage to the skin.
- Flick away the sucker before it tries attaching itself again to your skin.
- Make sure that you don’t just blindly try pulling off the leech because doing so will leave their mouth or sucking apparatus attached to your skin.
How to protect yourself from leeches
As far as leeches are concerned, it seems that you can find one in every environment, from the bodies of water to damp forests where they can just fall down on you while you walk under the trees or brush past them. You can also get them while wading or swimming in a river or pool.
To a certain extent, there is really not much to worry in case a leech gets on to you. As mentioned earlier, they usually take their fill of blood for around 20 minutes before they fall off on their own. Majority of the complications which are associated with leeches are the result of people trying to get rid of the leech without doing it properly. Thus, you have to be extra careful if you are trying to remove one from your skin, and if you are still unsure, you can just leave this in place for several minutes.
There is a very little chance for you to feel a leech once it attaches itself because of the tiny amount of anesthetic they inject into the bite spot.
If you happen to find yourself wandering around an area prone to leeches, it is a good thing to check your body since they love moist areas like under breasts, behind the legs, and groin.
- Wear leech socks. There are leeches that manage getting through some very tiny spaces so it will help if you wear leech socks to prevent it from happening and keep your feet protected.
- Tuck your pants in your boots, and your shirt tucked into your pants. It will stop the leech from reaching your armpits, belly, and other warm areas. There are also some tiny leeches so it might not really work that well once they manage to get through your socks’ weave although it will still help to stay on the safe side.
- Use strong insect repellent. Make sure you use strong insect repellent then apply this to your feet, legs, knees, and other exposed skin areas like your neck and wrists.
- Put some salt on your hands and other exposed areas. Leeches like salt just like slugs so washing them in salt water can help similar to applying salt to one that already managed to attach itself to you.
- Always check your clothes and your back before you put them on. These can also get warm from your body and end up attracting leeches.
- Use tobacco water and tobacco leaves. Look for some tobacco leaves then soak these in water. Once they infused the water, apply some using a spray other. There are beliefs that putting tobacco in socks can also keep leeches at bay.
The next time you go on a hike or outdoor adventure, remember these simple pointers on how to get leeches off. Leave comment if you have any other tips on how to remove leeches.