Saturday 08/10/16

Spring is here, bringing with it the customary warmer days and increase in rainfall. As we once again venture into the Great Outdoors, we must be mindful of our old friend, the leech. The very thought of them is enough to make those with weak constitutions feel a little queasy, (to the rest of us, they are just an unpleasant annoyance).

In addition to swamps and rainforests, you might even find a few lurking in your garden. Fear not; if you take the right precautions, you can reduce the impact of these nuisances.

If you are planning on going into areas where leeches are known (or suspected) to be, you should take the following precautions:

  • Apply insect repellent to all bare skin, pay particular attention to your legs.
  • Wear boots and long socks.
  • Wear long pants (and tuck them into your socks or boots).
  • Spray your long pants and boots with insect repellent.

What should you do if you find a leech?

  • If your first reaction is to squeal and do one of those weird ‘freak-out’ dances, make sure you have a friend with you. I’m sure they could do with a good laugh.
  • When your friend has finished laughing and filming your freak-out (which they will probably share on social media), ask them to sprinkle salt on the leach. This will quickly kill the parasite.
  • If you don’t have any salt (or are the sadistic type), a lit match will encourage the leech to let go. (You’d quickly let go too if someone shoved a lit match under your bum).
  • Wash the area and apply antiseptic cream.

Now that you have learned how vanquish your dreaded foe, you can bravely venture into the rainforest (or get back to that garden you have neglected all winter).