Very rarely we face cases when a patient develops an allergy after using the medicinal leeches. An allergic reaction in its essence is a confused reaction of the body, since the immune system is fighting against substances that do not actually pose a threat to our body, and, therefore, they are not really the aggressors like the immune system incorrectly identified them. These substances are commonly called allergens. An allergic reaction in hirudotherapy, which is the medicinal leech therapy, is usually caused by the action of those substances contained in the saliva produced after the leech bites into the body. An allergic reaction can be manifested at different levels. One can hardly notice it, for example, there are such reactions as mild redness, itching on the spot of the leech application, or the manifesting health condition aggravation, like nausea, dizziness, fever, significant swelling, or other symptoms. In some cases this kind of a reaction may reach the level of anaphylactic shock. Professional literature describes it as a one occurring once in ten thousand cases.
Anaphylactic shock is life-threatening. It is a hard and fast emerging allergic reaction. The main complications comprise sudden death, caused by the lack of blood circulation or respiration.
Despite the fact the majority of hirudotherapy practitioners have never faced a severe allergic reaction in the patient, this phenomenon may indeed occur. I have already had such an experience, thus I would like to attract your attention to the first aid treatment and getting ready for it. It is important to know the first aid treatment principles before you decide to try the medicinal leech application for you or someone else. Thus, before you apply the medicinal leech, it is advisable to know that even one small bite of the leech may cause very severe allergic reactions. If you’re going to apply the leech on your body, upon the occurrence of an allergic reaction you’re facing the threat of death, because you will not be able to help yourself. The first important rule is: If you going to apply the medicinal leech for the first time, there should always be another person as your assistant. This person should be well instructed on how to provide you with the first aid in case anaphylaxis comes after the application.