Leeches, those slimy, blood-sucking nightmare creatures, can be found in ponds, swamps, marshes, and lakes all over the world. Here’s what to do if one latches onto you, and how to treat the wound afterward.
In this video (warning: graphic) from the Brave Wilderness YouTube channel, host Coyote Peterson demonstrates the best method for removing a blood-sucking leech — with real leeches. To remove a leech, Peterson suggests you use your fingernail to gently slide over the leech’s anterior sucker where it’s actually biting into your skin. This sliding motion pushes the leech’s sucker off instead of pulling it, reducing the damage it’s teeth can do to your skin. After the anterior sucker is removed, you can simply pull the leech’s posterior sucker off.
Once the leech is gone, wash off as much blood as you can so you can clearly identify the bite, then dry it off with a paper towel. Now use some alcohol pads, iodine, or antibacterial wet wipes on the bite zone, and spray some hydrogen peroxide on there as well. The hydrogen peroxide will help kill bacteria and break down the enzymes in the leech saliva that’s causing you to bleed so much. Once the bleeding has slowed, apply some antibacterial ointment, and place a band-aid over the wound. Leeches are horrifying little creatures, but some basic first aid is all it takes to recover.
Surving a LEECH ATTACK! [YouTube]