Getting rid of the leeches while hiking during monsoons

Leeches – All The Details That Every Hiker Needs

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While hiking, one of the crucial things to know is how to handle leeches. Finding out that you have a leech attached to you while hiking can be quite jarring and inconvenient. That’s why it’s better to equip yourself with knowledge on how to handle leeches before starting your excursion.

Luckily for you, dealing with leeches is not that complicated. There are plenty of ways to prevent and effectively deal with them on your hike. Listed below are detailed tips on how to protect yourself from these little bloodsuckers when you are out in nature.

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Dealing With Leeches On A Hike

What Are Leeches?

Leeches are tube-shaped worm-like creatures, that are silent companions predominantly found during rainy and monsoon seasons. They are everywhere – on grass, water bodies, rocks, and on the trials. They stick to your body with their head and tail and feed on your blood for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Their body can expand up to 10x times their size while feeding. They tend to fall off automatically after feeding.

Leaches are predominantly found in soil types where the PH value is neutral or very good.

Are Leeches Harmful?

leeches - things every hiker needs to know

Leeches aren’t generally harmful, in fact, they’re very useful when it comes sucking a few drops of impure blood from the body. They’re used as medicines to purify the blood. Leech therapy is a legitimate medical practice that is practised in different parts of the world, and it involves treating human diseases.

Is A Leech Bite Painful?

Nope. You won’t feel a thing.  In fact, you won’t notice that a leech is sucking your blood unless you spot them sticking out. A Leech bite is not painful, but it might be itchy for a couple of days after a day or two.

How To Remove Leeches The Right Way?

To get rid of leeches, you don’t require any special equipment. There are a lot of quick but comparatively ill-advised options like treating leeches with fire, salt, Dettol, rubbing alcohol, shampoo, and sanitizer will of course do the trick. But there is a chance that applying these methods might kill the leech instantly, or they might also puke and mix the impure blood back into your body. So, it is essential to remove them the right way to reduce the risk of infection.

  • Slowly slide a debit/credit card, leaf, or any sturdy paper in between your skin and the mouth of the leech. 
  • Flick it hard toward where the mouth of the leech is.
  • Do not use any aroma-related stuff like salt, shampoo, sanitizer, Dettol, insect repellants, etc. This will not only largely affect the PH of the soil in the area but also kill the leeches.

While you now know how to remove them, scroll down to learn how to prevent them in the first place.

How To Treat Blood?

Even after you remove the leech, bleeding does occur for some time. You can treat it by:

  • Cleaning the bloody pore with salt water.
  • Applying antiseptic liquids like Betadine, after the running blood stops.
  • Bandaging the wound

We strongly advise that you don’t scratch it even if it is itchy. Scratching tends to delay the healing process. Contact a medical professional if you experience any signs of infection or any allergic reaction.

How To Dress Appropriately To Prevent Leech Bites?

Dressing appropriately to prevent leech bites
  • Don’t wear sandals or any footwear that exposes your feet. It is recommended to wear comfortable trekking shoes or high-ankle shoes.
  • Cover yourself adequately so that leeches do not find any opening to creep into your body. Wear full clothing.
  • Wear “Anti-Leech socks” or “Football socks,” and make sure your pants are correctly tucked into the socks to prevent them from crawling in.

How To Protect Yourself From Leeches?

  • Before planning the route, check for leeches in the area. Few places like Dudhsagar waterfalls are leech-free even in peak monsoon.
  • Ask locals as they know what works best after surviving them for decades.
  • Inspect your socks, shoes, your legs, and all your clothes before entering your tent. This is a must-do thing to avoid real-life nightmare situations.

Although leeches look disgusting, they shouldn’t stop you from trekking or hiking in the lush green mountains. We hope you have learned about the leaches and how to tackle them. Share this blog with your like-minded friends and get lost in the greens while hiking or trekking, without worrying. If you have other alternatives to beat leeches, you can share them with us and our readers in the comment section. For more content on anything, travel-related stay tuned with us, the traveling twins.

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1 comment

Harish 06/09/2022 - 8:51 AM

So usefull blog , i like to read more such unique information


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