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How To Remove Leeches

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Wanderlust, May 2, 2016.

  1. Wanderlust

    Wanderlust Member

    I, alongwith a few friends of mine, are planning for a trekking trip to Agumbe Ghats in Karnataka during the upcoming monsoon season. While looking for information, I came to know that the places around Agumbe are infested with leeches. And it is the monsoon season when the leeches are too much active.

    I would like to get some first hand information on the situation with leeches at Agumbe in the monsoon days. Will it be okay to go ahead with the trip plan in the monsoon season? I am also looking for some proven tips on how to remove leeches from the body.

  2. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    Leeches are a common problem not only in Agumbe Ghats, but also at all other rainforest areas in India. But that doesn't mean that you should think about postponing your trip to a later time. The Agumbe Ghats region is at its very best during the monsoon time with the waterfalls overflowing with waters and lush greenery all around. So I will personally think twice before postponing the trip to the dry season just to avoid the leeches.

    Here are a few common tips on how to remove leeches -

    1. Leeches are allergic to common salt. Carry highly concentrated salt water in a bottle and pour the same at the wounded area where the leech is attached to. It will eventually detach itself.

    2. DEET spray (Diethyl-meta-toluamide) or mosquoto repellent is very effective in getting rid of leech from the body. Just apply the spray right on top of the leech and it will roll off from your body.

    3. Leeches are equally adverse to heat. Smokers are at an advantage here. You can touch the mouth (sucker) of the leech with a lighted cigarette and it will slowly release its hold onto your skin. I have personally tried it several times and I can vouch for the fact that it works like a charm :)

    Leeches are not poisonous, but the wound from leech bite generally causes itching. Keep the wounded area clean and apply some antiseptic lotion/cream to help it heal quickly.

    Wanderlust and briannagodess like this.

  3. Destiny

    Destiny Member

    Yes, I would do all the things listed above. And, wear tight fitting clothes. This will help protect you against not only leeches bit creepy crawlies too. No one wants spiders crawling up their pant leg.
  4. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Like @Debapriya Deb said, you can appreciate the beauty of Agumbe during the rainy seasons. It is during this time that the waterfalls become alive namely the Kunchikal and the Barkana falls. The best months to visit Agumbe are during the first months of the year, January and February and at the end of the year, November and December.

    I would say that it's okay to plan the trip for the monsoon season. You just need to exercise caution when you travel to Agumbe. Here's a few tips that I can give you:

    • Wear tight fitting pants or better yet, tuck your pants into your socks to prevent leeches from getting in there.
    • Spray your socks and shoes with some tobacco water. You simply soak tobacco leaves in water and use that. This can help prevent the leeches from getting into your legs.
    • You can purchase leech socks as well. Some socks aren't able to protect you from leeches, these leech socks are woven very closely so that leeches cannot get into them.
    • Keep your hands dry so if ever a leech comes in contact with you, it is easier to remove it.
    And here's a few tips on how to remove leeches from your body:
    • Locate the head of the leech, it's the narrower part of its body.
    • Slide your fingernail under the sucker and quickly remove it. Be quick so it won't vomit the blood back into your wound.
    • Slide the entire body off.
    • Quickly throw the leech away before it reattaches its body to you again.
    • Wash the area with soap and water and put a bandaid over it.
    Some people even use alcohol or eucalyptus oil to remove leeches. You just spray the leech with these substances and they will fall of on their own. Or you can just wait for the leech to become full, about 20 minutes, and it will remove itself from you after.

    I hope this helps!

    Wanderlust and Admin like this.
  5. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I've only ever been bitten by a leech once - and I did the fingernail trick that Briannagodess mentioned above. It seemed to do the trick and removed it relatively easily. I think though that prevention is always better than cure - I wasn't wearing any sort of bug or insect repellent at the time, and I've heard of people having a lot of success with keeping leeches at bay simply by wearing bug repellent. So that would be my big tip - use something that repels them in the first place so that the likelihood of getting bitten is reduced! :)

    Enjoy your trek!
  6. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    Another trick is to use a bit of rubbing alcohol, or even perfume. Men's body spray also works. They don't like that, and will quickly detach. Just about anything other than water will annoy them enough to leave. Just don't pull. That can cause more of a wound, and even infection.
    Admin likes this.
  7. OursIsTheFury

    OursIsTheFury Member

    Alcohol takes the "suction" off the leeches when they are already attached to your skin. I do not know what to put on yourself to "repel" leeches, I only know how to remove them. I gotta say, that trip sounds pretty badass. Not many people would voluntarily go to leech infested areas and go knee deep into waters during the monsoon season. If it were me, I'd just skip the monsoon season and leeches entirely, and just see the sights in the cities or something. But hey, kudos to you for being so adventurous.