Your entire family could be out on a nature walk, or a day at the beach, but only you return home with mozzie bites on your arms and legs.
No, you’re not being paranoid, there are certain factors that lure these bloodsucking creatures to some people more than others. By the way, did you know only female mosquitoes bite because they need human blood to develop fertile eggs?
Their bites usually leave behind a swollen red welt, and are itchy and annoying at its best. At its worst, getting bitten can spread diseases like the Zika and Dengue Virus.
For this reason, it’s important to protect the most vulnerable from getting bitten. This includes, young children and pregnant women.
So, what exactly draws mosquitoes to you? We rounded up the factors that make you more attractiveness to mozzies.
If you’re pregnant, you’re probably staying away from mosquito breeding clusters, since you definitely do not want to be contracting the Dengue or Zika virus.
Unfortunately, mosquitoes seem to love expectant mums. According to a study of African women that was published in international medical journal The Lancet, pregnant women are twice as attractive to malaria-carrying mosquitoes as non-pregnant women. As part of the study, 36 pregnant women and 36 non-pregnant women slept under individual bed nets in identical huts, and it was found that those who were preggers, attracted twice as many mosquitoes.
According to the researchers, the insects were drawn to the higher levels of moisture and carbon dioxide in expectant mums. Women at an advanced stage of pregnancy exhaled 21 percent greater volumes of carbon dioxide.
2. Heat and sweat
Couch potatoes, rejoice! If you feel like you get bitten massively after a run, you’re not imagining things. Physical activity does cause your body to release carbon dioxide as it burns energy, and as we know by now, that particular gas is a huge mozzie magnet.
The insects were drawn to the higher levels of moisture and carbon dioxide in expectant mums.
By the way, sweat also attracts these little buggers. Everyone’s sweat smells different, thanks to the differing amounts of lactic acid, ammonia and other substances we emit. So, if you emit a stronger smell, the more likely you’ll be found mosquitoes and get bitten. Since your temperature makes a difference too, working out raises your body temperature, and you’re more easily detected by these insects.
3. Blood type
85 per cent of people excrete a chemical that enables mosquitoes to tell what blood type we are. And these people are more likely to get bitten than the remaining 15 percent who don’t.
Out of those who do excrete the chemical, a study in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that those with Type O blood are twice as likely to get bitten, compared to those with Type B blood.
And if you’re Type A – you’re in luck. You’re even less popular among the bloodthirsty fiends than people with Type B.
4. Your clothes
Mosquitoes can see, but like most insects their vision is a little blurry, so they tend to use their sense of smell more. However, once they are within 15 to 50 feet away, they start to follow their visual cues. As such, what you wear makes a difference.
Wearing bold colours like red, or dark colours like navy and black makes you easier to spot, especially in the day. So, if you want to avoid getting bitten, pick something light-coloured instead, especially if you’re doing an outdoor activity.
Research from the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative in the US found that he larger the amount of bacteria on your body, the more mosquitos you’ll attract. This probably explains why we often get bitten on our ankles and feet, where there is a higher concentration of bacteria. The study also found that washing your feet with anti-bacterial soap can significantly reduce the number of mosquito bites. So, keep yourself smelling clean and fresh, and there’s a good chance the mosquitoes will leave you unscathed.
We often get bitten at our ankles and feet, where there is a higher concentration of bacteria.
6. Floral scents
Just because you’re getting bitten, it doesn’t always mean you smell bad. Mosquitoes are also drawn to substances you apply on yourself, such as perfumes and scented lotions. By the way, mozzies love floral scents, so opt for another fragrance instead if you’re heading outdoors!
Love winding down with a glass of red wine in the evening? Well, the mozzies do, too. We hate to rain on your parade, but one study from the Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University in Japan found that people suffered more mosquito bites after ingesting liquor. The test subjects had their ethanol content in their sweat measured and it was found that mosquitoes landed on them more after they ingested the alcohol, compared to before ingestion.
No matter how attractive you are to those bloodsuckers, there are ways you can avoid getting bitten. Get a safe and effective repellent for yourself and your family (check these out), or banish the bugs using natural ingredients like coffee grounds and certain herbs. Find more natural methods here. Another fantastic way to ward off mozzies is to get a pot of a bug-repelling plant, such as Marigold or rosemary. It’ll beautify your home, and keep those pesky critters away!
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