Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I went on a field trip last weekend to Malaysia and encountered my first ever leech bite. I lit a cigarette to "burn" and remove the leech like what I observed on the Internet on how others do it.

It was only when I reached home and did some research on this subject that I found out that removing leeches using cigarettes, vinegar, salt, etc are not advisable as such methods may cause the leech to regurgitate its stomach's content out into the wound, increasing the chances of getting infected (bacterias from previous hosts may survive within the leech for a long period of time before being retransmitted to humans).

A better way to remove the leech is to use your finger to break the suction of the suckers, dislodging the wider end of the leech first before dislodging the narrower end. I found a short video on youtube regarding this too.

The sensation when being bitten by a leech is similar to being bitten by an ant, if you did not notice it, it will suck your blood to its heart content before releasing itself. As the leech secretes a form of anticoagulant enzyme into the wound, the bleeding will take longer than usual to stop (It's true, I tried and tested it).

I will bear with the discomfort of wearing soggy long pants and shoes for all my future field trips to prevent this from happening again, or better still, buy a wader suit!

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