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Although leeches are relatively harmless, and you are not likely to bleed out from a bite, the blood stain on your clothes can be off-putting to your hiking buddies.

Is there any effective way to counteract the anti-coagulant leeches inject into the bite, and thus stop the blood-flow in a timely manner?

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Not really answer worthy, but why not just carry clotting powder? It's a pretty good item for a first aid kit anyhow. – Russell Steen Jun 14 '14 at 14:46
Cauterization? It shouldn't be to painful considering the size of the bite. – Desorder Mar 6 at 21:01
up vote 8 down vote accepted

As far as I know, there is no way to stop the bleeding with out constant pressure. On the bright side, you only give up 1-3 CCs of blood due to leech bites.

The problem with leech bites and hiking is your heart is pumping harder while you hike, pushing more blood around. Its not uncommon for the bite to last several hours. However short of constant pressure or some type of sealant, I've not heard of anything you can do.

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I am not sure this is the correct answer. A leach may only take 1-3CCs of blood during a 20 minute feeding, but the wound will continue to leak for up to 24 hours. – James Jenkins May 9 at 15:19

I have heard that if you do not remove the leech until it gets full and naturally drops off that you will not bleed much, and that it is safer because you reduce the risk of infection. At the moment I can't find good sources for this, only:


    In case the leech has already got you, do not pull it out. The commonly used techniques of burning, salting and squeezing result in the leech vomiting harmful bacteria back into your system.

    Leeches fall out on their own once full. If you can continue hiking with the thought of a small Dracula hanging off your body do so. It will not take longer than 20 minutes for the leech to give up and remove itself safely.


    NOTE: Is it generally not advised to attempt removing a leech by burning with a cigarette; applying mosquito repellent, shampoo, or salt; or pulling at the leech. This can result the leech regurgitating into the wound and causing infection much worse than the leech bite itself.

Not what I would consider reliable and no comment on bleeding specifically, so unless someone can corroborate this theory I shall eventually delete this answer.

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I also tried to find some information on this, because I intuitively would say thats the right thing to do. That´s also the way they are applied for therapeutical use. But I couldn´t find any reliable sources. – Paul Paulsen Jun 15 '14 at 14:22
@Aravona and Paul: I guess for us to find out someone is going to have go get some leeches and take one for the team. :o) – Mr.Wizard Jun 24 '14 at 15:47

Unlikely to help unless a tea bag is handy but the tannins in black tea bags contain tranexamic acid which helps clot blood. Just had 5 hours of bleeding from a leech which didn't stop with heavy bandaging and elevation of my leg. I applied a tea bag I had wet in tap water for 5 mins and it hasn't bled since. Old medical trick. Its like an antidote to the chemical in the leech's saliva which actually stops you from clotting.

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Septic pencil, bandage.


Leeches must be removed from the skin carefully. If a leech is ripped from the skin, its fangs may break off and remain embedded, which induces ulcer formation. Leech removal is facilitated by application of a few drops of alcohol, vinegar, or brine. An alternative removal method involves the application of a lit match to the leech at the attachment site. After leech removal, the site should be inspected carefully to insure that the fangs are absent. Hemostasis (bleeding control) can be achieved by applying direct pressure and using a styptic pencil ( a short medicated stick, often made of alum that can be applied to a cut to stop bleeding), oxidized regenerated cellulose absorbable hemostat, or topical thrombin. The wound should be cleansed thoroughly with an antiseptic several times daily and a multi-purpose topical antibiotic applied to prevent infection. (source)

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I faced the same and a waiter at a restaurant suggested me this. Just apply a pinch of turmeric at the spot a couple of times. I worked wonders for me instantly.

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Put some burned paper ash. It will stop the blood-flow. Or else, just stick a piece of paper on the wound.

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This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. – WedaPashi Jun 10 '14 at 5:18
sean - neither of your solutions actually work. You need the combination of pressure and a material which doesn't let the blood leak through. – Rory Alsop Jun 10 '14 at 21:30
I actually find this a rather interesting answer, and would love for Sean follow up with more information. (I hadn't given it too much thought until Mazura's answer.) Although "burnt paper" may technically also be called "oxidized cellulose", the medical product is a gauze that's been partially oxidized, usually by chemical means. It's absorbable by the body and works by promoting clotting rather than through mechanical pressure. If Sean's suggestion works, I would expect the mechanism to be similar. Unfortunately supporting data is very hard to find! – requiem Jun 15 '14 at 21:39

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