Leeches are mostly found in the damp area. They love living in a wet place. They are mostly found in the tropical and subtropical climate. So, chances are higher that leeches would be found in the South-East Asian countries where there is a rainy season, often called as the monsoon in India. Thus, the monsoon is a big time when you would find a lot of leeches on every square foot in the forest.
Where are leeches found?
- Leeches are found in the dump areas
- They could be hiding underground or on the twigs or leaves. They could simply be found anywhere in the forest
- Leeches are mostly found in the low-land area with thick forests somewhere around up to 3000 feet
- The higher you trek, the lower their density would get with altitude
- Thus, in South India rain forests, leeches are mostly found in the forests with thick tree covers. Once you trek and reach open grasslands after 3000 feet, you would see that the number of leeches has gone down drastically.
- If you happen to go on any western ghats treks in the monsoon, you can find a lot of leeches. Some of the treks are Kumara Parvatha, Kodchadri, Tadiandamol, Kudremukh, Bandaje arbi etc.
How do leech bites happen?
- There is no rule on the trek or hiking inside a forest that the person walking in the front would get lesser leech bites. This would be true only if the person does not stop at all for others walking behind. Most of the times, the person walking at the front stops and waits for others which give more than ample time to leeches to crawl over.
- Leeches are sensitive to vibrations and body heat.
- Since they are sensitive to body heat, thus they would mostly prefer the body areas where body heat is usually higher like armpits, under the feet, belly etc. So cover these areas to avoid leech bites
- Leeches in south India treks can suck blood from both sides. so be careful
Myths about leeches:
- Leeches can jump. No, they can not.
- They can grow when cut half. No chance
- Any other stories: apply your brain pls
How to avoid leeches:
Avoidance or prevention is better than cure. Here are the tips on how to avoid leeches from sticking to your body.
- Applying salt (during monsoon, salt easily gets washed away and moreover, this solution is effective only after the leech attack)
- Make a mix of Coconut Oil and tobacco and apply to your body especially on lower and exposed areas like legs and arms.
- You can also mix a mosquito repellant cream with tobacco and apply on the exposed part of your body. Leech does not like the smell of tobacco.
- Wear leech socks or Trail-Gaiter (A thick cloth socks which won’t allow leeches to slip in through)
- Keep walking and not to lean on any plants/ tree in the forest (The best for a leech to come into contact with you)
- Do not stop to remove the leeches (By the time, you take out some, a few another would already be there on your socks)
- Cover yourself properly
- You can also use Ladies Knee Length Stockings
- Strong smell of Dettol also repels the leeches
- or, the last resort is they would suck up blood; get fatter and roll down themselves like a lazy fat insect
Leech bites Precaution:
- Do not scratch that area. It will itch a lot but scratching would never allow new cells formation over the wound
- Do not panic or scream, they are very week insects and leeches do not carry poison.
- Due to anticoagulant, the leech bites would not allow stopping the bleeding. Better would be put a piece of paper over there and bleeding stops most of the times.
A paper acts as a coagulant during leech bites
- Apply any antiseptic cream to prevent further infection until you see a doctor
Leech bite treatment for leech wound and leech Infection:
- First of all, never let a leech bite gets older or it turns into eczema.
- Never let the skin gets dry; apply moisturizer over there regularly
- One of the most effective solutions is using creams and Moisturizers like Cetaphil
- They are known to be one of the most effective remedies against the leech bites. I have personally used them on my 5-months old leech bite. It is very effective and it worths making a purchase because it worked out in less than a week for me. Do not expose yourself to health risk for prolonged leech bites.
- Use Candid B cream if there is itching. Candid B cream has Clotrimazole which is very effective in the case of fungal treatment.
Natural Home Remedies for Leech bite skin allergies:
Some of us always look out for natural remedies for skin allergies. A leech bite is no different when it comes to skin allergies. Some of the symptoms of skin allergy are:
- Rashes on the skin
- A lot of itching
- The profusion of water-like blood
- Swelling of the infected part etc.
Well, some of the most common causes of skin allergies are:
- Skin exposed to external factors like sun, dust, dry weather, getting rubbed against clothing etc.
- Itching and scratching the wound (Even if you try to control it a lot)
- House flies sitting on it time and again etc.
Keep the area moisturized and use a good moisturizer. Now, if you do not want to try the moisturizer as recommended above, you can also for other natural treatment solutions for the leech bites and skin allergies by applying:
These natural remedies for leech bites and skin infections and allergies are known to work the best against skin allergies. These oils cleanse the skin, neem oil even clean the blood and the infected part. Aloe Vera, on the other hand, is known for providing the moisturizing effect on the skin. For soothing the bite, you can also use honey if it’s itching too much. Honey will help soothe the bite.
If above oils are not available easily, use coconut oil or olive oil to gently message the wound or the bite on a daily basis after the shower. Coconut oil also helps in removing the marks on the skin. You can also mix camphor in the coconut for a soothing effect. This is the reason doctors and Ayurveda also recommend using these oil for glowing skin and to remove the rashes and skin allergies.