Tips: Leech Removal | Canoeroots Magazine | Rapid Media
Skills
Leech on foot. Photo: James Smedley

The do's and don't for these slimy bloodsuckers

 

Do thoughts of the scene in the 1986 hit movie Stand By Me, where child actor Wil Wheaton pulls a fat, slimy leech out of his underpants, send chills up your spine?

If so, there’s little reason to worry—only a few species of leeches feed on humans. However, if one attaches to you, here’s what—and what not—to do.

Do

The best method is to wait 10 to 20 minutes until the leech detaches itself. But if that’s too gross, use a sharp fingernail to dislodge its sucker. Remember to always wash the wound with soap and water.

Don’t

As tempting as it might seem, don’t rip the leech off. This tears your skin and can cause infection. Another treatment commonly prescribed is the application of salt or heat from a flame. While these methods work, they cause the leech to regurgitate into the open wound, which can cause infection, or worse, disease.

 

Discover 21 more survival tips in Canoeroots and Family Camping's Late Summer 2010 issue. To read it, download our free iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch App or Android App or read it here.

 

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