The bugs are back and biting. The summer trips to the beach, hikes through the trail, and evenings around the fire turn into a disaster for some people: the ones who end up covered in mosquito bites. What makes some people more prone to mosquito bites than others? Why are they more attractive to mosquitoes than other people? Well, there a couple of factors which affect mosquitoes` choice of meal. Unfortunately, most of them are totally out of your control. Check them out:
- Mosquitos Fancy Type O Blood
According to a 2003 study, mosquitoes tend to land more often on people with type O blood. The other types were not a big influence, and the reason for this preference is not clear, though.
- Mosquitos Are Obsessed With Drinkers
According to a 2002 study, increased ethanol in the breath and sweat when drinking alcohol increases mosquito attraction.
- Mosquitos Prefer Sticky People
The sweat is made up of different compounds, out of which lactic acid is the most attractive to mosquitoes. The more you sweat, the more attractive you are to them. As a matter of fact, it has been scientifically proven that older sweatleads to more mosquito bites than “fresh” sweat. This is the reason why you are more prone to mosquito bites when you haven’t showered for an extended period of time (during a camping trip, for instance).
- Mosquitos Love Heavy Breathers
Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide we breathe out during breathing. So, if you are outside and sweating out, thus increasing your breathing rate, the risk of mosquito bites increases. Unfortunately, this can also affect people who deal with heavy breathing due to health problems like asthma or obesity.
- Mosquitos Have Taste… In Bacteria
Every person`s microflora is different, and some types of bacteria attract mosquitoes, while other repels them. According to a 2001 study, those with generally more bacteria on their skin than average was more attractive to mosquitos. The researchers pointed to Staphylococcus bacteria as particularly attractive for mosquitos.
How to Keep Mosquitos At Bay
DEET, the active compound of bug sprays, is associated with health risks.
“Laboratory studies conducted since the 1998 EPA review have suggested that DEET exposure can affect the nervous systems of rats (Abdel-Rahman et al 2001, Corbel et al. 2009). People who use DEET daily have reported suffering symptoms including rashes, dizziness, difficulty concentrating and headaches (ATSDR 2004). Studies using DEET alongside the pesticide permethrin have raised concerns that DEET could cause neurological damage and epigenetic changes (Abdel-Rahman et al 2001, Manikkam et al 2012).
Still, after reviewing the evidence, EWG has concluded that DEET is generally safer than many people assume and remains a viable option for people in areas infested with disease-carrying pests.”
- Apply tea tree oil mixed with a carrier oil to the skin
- Apply thyme oil mixed with a carrier oil to your skin
- Mix lemon eucalyptus essential oil with a carrier oil and use topically
- Keep citronella candles burning