{Leech Management}

So not surprisingly the leeches are out in force after rain…one time I even dragged one to work that must of spent the night in the car!

So I’ve done some research on what the suggested prevention’s and treatments are;

  1. Wear women’s pantyhose, I think I’ll personally try the knee high trick! Apparently the men during the war used used this…
  2. Dettol, Aeroguard and Scotchguard are all supposed to be repellents, as well as tobacco…leeches hate tobacco allegedly?!
  3. Salt is the go to trick to get them off, or many just suggest rip them off with your fingers which I do… I have heard it’s better to use salt as they back out rather than being yanked out!
  4. Physical barriers seem to be tricky, tights, gaiters and gumboots are generally not that effective – they still manage to find a way in I find – especially through those shoelace holes!
  5. Raw honey seems to be a standout treatment, especially dabbed under a bandaid, soothing and an antiseptic.
  6. Tea tree oil relieves that insane itch that hangs around…!

What’s your go to prevention and treatment strategies?!

Photo Credit: Anna D’Accione Australian Museum

3 thoughts on “{Leech Management}

  1. Great article!

    I tend to do the following when it comes to the leeches

    Prevention: tea tree oil around the tops of socks and boots. Applied to trouser waistband, shirt neck and sleeve cuffs if moving off-track through rainforest country. Bushman’s DEET-based repellent is effective too, but I prefer more natural solutions which won’t melt my shoes or discolour my hiking pants, hence the tea tree oil. Avoid using long gaiters in leech territory if possible because they will crawl up the gaiters and eventually will find their way to the waistband of your trousers and then down to your nether-regions, which is never a good look.

    Cure: Salt or a flame applied to the leech while it is feeding is the accepted rule, but I have been told that when using these methods the leech can essentially vomit its stomach contents back onto the feeding site which can lead to infection. With this in mind I just prise them off the skin with a fingernail or a penknife blade and hope for the best. Unlike ticks, leeches don’t usually leave mouth parts inside the bite site if forcibly removed.

    More Cure: Leech bites itch like crazy and when you scratch them they can easily become infected, which is bad juju on day two of a seven day bushwalking adventure. A little tea tree oil or betadine from the first aid kit is good to dab onto the bite site, but it may still itch even afterwards. I have never tried honey, but it sounds like a great all-natural solution. As we know, honey has antiseptic and antibiotic properties. I have used lavender oil to help stop the itch from insect bites (among other things), so it may be worth giving that a try. Regardless, a vial of lavender oil is good to add to your bushwalking first aid kit since it is the absolute best treatment for blisters you can perform out bush.

    Anyone else have any leech prevention and cure tips?

    Liked by 1 person

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