Thursday, April 15, 2010
I saw an article regarding this bloodsucking parasite, and thus decided to write about it. Alright this is going to be a really disgusting post for some people, so reader discretion is advised =P
There are freshwater, terrestrial, and marine leeches, meaning, we cannot escape from this vampire. Like earthworms, leeches are hermaphrodites (an animal or plant that has reproductive organs normally associated with both male and female sexes). Some, but not all, leeches are hematophagous, meaning having a strong taste for blood.
Our race has coexisted with this parasite for ages. Now that we have moved away from the jungle, they followed us to dwell in our drainage system, man-made lakes and artificial forest. It's a common sight to see a leech slowly making its way in the drain sometimes, feeding on unwary dogs and cats that pass by. This creature even found its way into the hospital now, where doctors utilize its blooding sucking ability to withdraw clotted or contaminated blood from patients. Leech produces a special enzyme when it bites, which prevents blood from clotting, and thus it can suck on continuously until it is full. A string-thin leech would feed furiously until becoming as thick as our thumb.
Once latched onto its victim, a leech will not release its bite easily. One recommended method of removal is using a fingernail to break the seal of the oral sucker at the anterior end of the leech, repeating with the posterior end, then flicking the leech away. As the fingernail is pushed along the person's skin against the leech, the suction of sucker's seal is broken, at which point the leech should detach its jaws.
A common but medically inadvisable technique to remove a leech is to apply a flame, a lit cigarette, salt, soap, or a caustic chemical such as alcohol, vinegar, lemon juice, insect repellent, heat rub, or certain carbonated drinks. These cause the leech to regurgitate its stomach contents into the wound and quickly detach. However, the vomit may carry disease, and thus increase the risk of infection.
Simply pulling a leech off by grasping it can also cause regurgitation, and adds risks of further tearing the wound, and leaving parts of the leech's jaw in the wound, which can also increase the risk of infection.
An externally attached leech will detach and fall off on its own when it is satiated on blood, usually in about 20 minutes (but will stay there for as long as it can).Internal attachments, such as nasal passage or vaginal attachments, are more likely to require medical intervention.
There are several cases of internal attachment happening in remote areas of the world. Three years ago, a nine-year-old girl was admitted to La Merced hospital in Peru with a headache that had lasted for two weeks and a strange “sliding sensation” in her nose. Her parents quickly discovered the source of the problem – a sizeable black worm lodged up her right nostril. They quickly sought medical help and it came in the form of Dr Renzo Arauco-Brown, who removed a seven-centimetre leech from the girl’s nose.
Soon, there are two new cases being reported. Both had been removed from the nostrils of young boys in 1997. Like the most recent case, these children had also been bathing in local lakes and streams, which is almost certainly how they picked up their vampire.
While most leeches are found on the skin, some also specializes in feeding on mucous membranes, such as those found in the nose, eye, vagina, anus and urethra. click here if you're not easily intimidated~ and a more disgusting one
As you can see, this animal will try anything in order to feed on our blood. And so, medical practitioners have come up with a way to satisfy the leeches' need, while clearing ailment off the patients. The use of leeches in medicine dates as far back as 2,500 years ago when they were used for bloodletting in ancient Egypt. All ancient civilizations practiced bloodletting including Indian and Greek civilizations. Hence, medical practitioners today have a strong reason to use this ancient method to cure sicknesses, but not for me please~ I still prefer the conventional injection-medicine method~~~~
This creature is simply not my cup of tea~