Leech protection

Old Aug 7th, 2006, 02:53 AM
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Leech protection

I'll confess that my leech problem is a bit closer to home than Asia (actually a bushy block of land we've bought on the New South Wales south coast), but I thought the matter might be of interest to some of the more intrepid travellers on this forum.

So - short of wearing long pants and tucking them into your socks, does anyone know of a solution? Something that sprays on, perhaps? A web search turned up insect repellant, including some citronella-based product, but I'm not yet convinced.

My wife wondered if wearing pantyhose might do the trick, but she's not about to volunteer to put that one to the test and I don't think I will either.
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 04:28 AM
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Do a forum search on "leech socks" - I believe that may be your solution - others will probably chime in on this, of course.
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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Yup, Craig is right, leech socks.

Leech socks are cotton coverings that go over your foot and all the way up to your knee where they tie. You wear them with long pants, socks and shoes or boots. The purpose of leech socks is to give you a chance to see the leeches as they crawl up you before they find a place to attach.

Unfortunately, insect repellants are ineffective against leeches. Salt will kill them, so if you get a leech on you, putting salt on it will help it release. By the way, leech bites tend to bleed for a long time after you remove a leech.

Leeches are amazingly presistent. They can sense you from a meter away. Desipte our vigilance, we both had leeches that hitch-hiked on our clothes or boots back to our cabin in Borneo. So examine your clothing and boots carefully after you take them off. We even found one dessicated leech that got all the way back to Seattle in our suitcase!
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 02:39 PM
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Thanks, Craig and Kathie. Yes, I know to my cost how long you'll bleed - they inject an anti-coagulent. I've always associated leeches with tropical or at least sub-tropical environments, but the area in question is temperate, with cool winters. We'll check out the leech socks (and put the brushcutter to work).
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 07:16 PM
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I trek the rainforest every weekend for exercise. Over here in tropical Malaysia, leeches come in all sizes and shapes. My tip for everyone - soak the
long soccer sock and long pants you're going to use for jungle jaunt in concentrated salt water. Kitchen salt will do. Dry them out in the sun and voila - instant leech repellant wear. For exposed skin (ie. neck, arms, hands), I rub "VICKS VAPOUR RUB" on these areas. It's waxing waterproof, easy on the skin and leeches absolutely hate the stuff.
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