Today, buying medical leeches is not a big problem, especially in large cities. "What problems," the reader will say, "pay money and take your goods." With leeches, everything is somewhat different, this issue should be approached fairly well.
All medical leeches must be purchased only in pharmacies, clinics or from specialized manufacturers at the biofactory. Remember: a medical leech is a medical product, which means that you must have a corresponding medical certificate of quality.
Medical leeches are purchased in pharmacies that have permission to sell them or at bio-factories authorized to produce them. When purchasing leeches, you must obtain a certificate of conformity for them. In accordance with the regulatory document (FS 42-702-97), the medical leech has its own quality indicators:
Average weight - weight in a hungry state - from 0.5 to 3 g. Socratic reflex. The leech must have a pronounced contractile reflex: the leech squeezed in the palm of the hand must quickly contract, the body becomes short, dense and elastic. When the brush is opened - for 5 to 15 seconds the leech is stretched, returning to its original state. When the brush is re-compressed and opened, the leech shrinks and stretches. Leach, grown on specialized farms, is 100% suitable for medical use.
On average, for a course of hirudotherapy at home, you will need from 40 to 60 medical leeches!
There are several ways to store medical leeches at home, consider two of them.
Option one is the common method for storing leeches. Leeches can be kept in a bright room without smells, in a large wide glass container at the rate of 3 liters of water for 50-100 individuals, but it is better to keep up to 40 leeches in one such dish. You can use even an aquarium free from fish, which, perhaps, will give your house some aesthetics. Do not drastically fluctuate temperature, as they cause the death of leeches. Leeches are an excellent weather barometer, in bad weather they swim in the water, and in clear climbs creep on pebbles in the aquarium and on the glass. Please note that changes in the weather leech feel in a few hours. The water must be necessarily clean and have room temperature. To change the water in a jar in which leeches are swimming, it follows as it grows cloudy, but at least once or twice a week. The container with leeches should not be kept in sunlight, otherwise leeches will be excited. The optimum water temperature is from 8 to 20 degrees. Under such conditions leeches can do without food for about six months. All this time you need not forget to change the water more often. You can even feed leeches with sugar syrup. Sweet love everything, even leeches. The room where the leeches are located should be well ventilated. Leeches do not like noise, light and sharp smells. When contact with odorous substances, medical leeches get sick and die. Take care of these creatures, and then they will reciprocate you, healing from most ailments.
This variant of storing leeches has certain difficulties.
Firstly, being in room conditions, leeches exhibit a sufficiently high activity of their behavior and intensively throw out slime from the body - wastes of vital activity. This requires frequent changes of water (sometimes, two to three days) and regular cleaning from the mucus and dirt of the walls of the tank where the leeches are stored. In addition, leeches should be covered with a dense cloth (cotton calico, coarse calico) or other lid that allows air to pass through. Otherwise leeches can actively crawl out of the aquarium or a large glass jar and creep around the apartment. It will be very unpleasant for other members of your family to find a leech in your clothes, shoes or a work bag in the morning. In addition, being outside the container with water, leeches very quickly die from lack of moisture.
Secondly, the appearance of continuously moving leeches behind the walls of the aquarium or a glass jar has a very oppressive effect on those who will soon have hirudotherapy. Especially if it's an emotional and impressionable person.
Thirdly, for regular sessions of hirudotherapy, it is troublesome to get leeches from a large capacity each time.
The second option is the compact and easy storage of leeches in the refrigerator. This option has been successfully tested by me for 25 years and can be recommended to the reader as the most simple and effective.
The essence of it is as follows. In a pharmacy, medical leeches are usually given out in a container with water and a plastic lid. Experienced girudoterapevty come for leeches with their glass containers: one-, two- or three-liter cans with tight lids.
Within a few hours, necessary for the transport of leeches, they can safely be in a tightly closed transport container. After delivering medical leeches home, first open the hermetic cover and cover the can with a cotton cloth (a clean handkerchief), tightly fitting it around the perimeter with a tight elastic band. Leeches have the amazing ability to quickly leave an unusual new capacity for them, for example, through a loosely covered lid. Do not cover the jar with gauze, the leeches will gnaw it in a few seconds and spread over your apartment.
Following the recommendations above, go to the next step. Evenly distribute leeches to several banks. To do this, first find a large clean pan and pour in all the water with leeches. Next, place leeches (with hands or tweezers) in several pre-prepared glass jars, each with a capacity of 650-1000 ml. In one such bank it is possible to store fifteen or twenty leeches successfully, not more. In each jar it is necessary to pour clean water in advance. You can pour cold tap water, but in this case, a jar of water must be stored beforehand (before buying leeches) within 24 hours. This will remove the chlorine dissolved in it from the water, and the water itself will take the temperature of the environment.
Make sure that at the time of shifting the leeches on the banks the temperature of the water in the leech tank you brought was approximately equal to the temperature of the water in the dispensing jars. If there is any doubt - stand all the banks for a couple of hours in the same external environment, for example, putting them all on the floor in the corridor or on the veranda of the dacha.
Sharing the leeches on the cans, cover each jar with a single layer of cotton or similar fabric and fasten the fabric with a tight elastic band (sold in newsagents). Then put the leeches in the refrigerator, where the temperature is kept from +1 to +8 degrees. It is advisable that during the storage of leeches in the refrigerator there are no products and other objects creating a sharp odor. It is better to keep leeches in a separate refrigerator, for example using an old, but serviceable refrigerator.
Next to the large jars, where the leeches are stored, put in a refrigerator a small glass container of about 100 ml, filled with clean water. This will be your working capacity. In it in the future it will be easy and convenient to put the right amount of leeches for the next session, and also to extract leeches for their subsequent setting. Leeches in the refrigerator should be kept for at least one day, after that they will be ready for setting for therapeutic purposes.
Being in the refrigerator, leeches are rolled into an elastic lump and fall into a state close to anabiosis, a sharp slowing down of life processes, in which there are no visible signs of life. In this state, the biological activity of leeches is drastically reduced, which allows the hirudotherapist to change water less frequently (once every seven to ten days). In addition, being in the refrigerator, leeches lose their inherent excitability. With such storage in the refrigerator leeches retain their vitality and working capacity up to one year without any additional feeding. It is important only to regularly change the water, and a month later - and the banks themselves (to clean them and thoroughly rinse off mucus and dirt).
When favorable conditions arise (extraction from the refrigerator) in leeches falling into the state of anabiosis, the vital processes are rapidly restored. After extraction from the chilled can and application to the patient's skin, the leeches are quickly activated (in 2-3 minutes) and almost in 100% of cases bite the skin and begin to actively suck blood.
"Why keep the leeches in the refrigerator?" - the reader may have a question. I answer, the refrigerator is also a convenient means for long-term storage of leeches, which are not going to be used in the next few weeks or even months. Most often, leeches are contained in professional hirudotherapy centers. Much less often - at home. You can put your little future healers there on several occasions.
There is an intermediate option when you buy leeches for yourself and your family for six months ahead. For example, you for one reason or another are not available places where you can buy leeches. Perhaps you live far from the center of their artificial breeding or a pharmacy where leeches are sold. In this case, you leave on the windowsill a small amount of leeches, which you intend to use in the next few weeks, and the remaining "send" to the refrigerator. This method of storing leeches is the most optimal and practical.