No matter where I am and how much repellent I have slathered on my body, I'm always the person who gets eaten alive by mosquitoes, even if everyone else around me manages to escape unscathed. It's been that way for as long as I can remember, and it's never gotten easier. Infuriatingly enough, my partner is one of those people who never gets bitten — ever. My mother, on the other hand, is exactly the same as me. Mosquitoes always seem to find us, regardless of the barriers we place around us. We leave barbecues and weddings with various body parts covered in bright red welts — our legs, hands, and sometimes even our foreheads. (It doesn't make for great pictures.) This made me think that maybe there is something in our genes or blood type that makes us more susceptible to contracting mosquito bites.
Are Some People More Prone To Getting Bit Than Others?
The quick answer is, yes. Definitely, yes — 85 percent of our likelihood to get bitten by mosquitoes is due to genetics. There isn't a huge amount of research done on this topic, but experts know enough to confidently say that some folks are naturally mosquito bait, while others simply aren't (lucky them). Jerry Butler, Ph.D. professor emeritus at the University of Florida, told WebMD, "One in 10 people are highly attractive to mosquitoes."
There are certain elements of our body composition that make us susceptible to mosquito bites. For example, people with higher concentrations of steroids or cholesterol on their skin surface have no fighting chance against mosquitoes. This doesn't necessarily mean that someone with high cholesterol is going to get bitten; rather, people who naturally metabolize and process cholesterol at fast rates are easy targets because the cholesterol gets excreted to the skin's surface much quicker.
Research has also found that people with blood type O are 83 percent more likely likely to get bombarded by mosquitoes as those with other types. Type A is the least likely and Type B folks kind of sit in the middle of the two. Pregnant women are twice as yummy to mosquitoes as non-pregnant women, according to a study done in Africa. It's believed to be because of the greater levels of carbon dioxide they emit, which is a big attractor for mosquitoes. They exhale 21 percent more than the normal person, due to the second human they're growing inside of them and all. The claim, however, that women are more likely to get bitten, is actually a myth: because of their larger body size, men, on average, are more vulnerable.
Other causes include certain bacteria and some acids, such as uric acid and lactic acid, on the skin of individuals, which are said to invite mosquitoes to do their bidding freely. That's why athletes get bitten more often, since the body gets rid of a lot of lactic acid upon vigorous exercise. Additionally, anyone who drinks alcohol is more prone to getting bitten because your body temperature automatically rises, a trait that mosquitoes go absolutely crazy for.
Are There Certain Things We Do That Attract Mosquitoes?
What Are The Dangers Of Getting Bitten So Often?
West Nile and Zika viruses are no laughing matter, and they can both be contracted by mosquito bites. West Nile is most commonly diagnosed in Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and West Asia. It first appeared in the U.S. in 1999, causing 62 deaths. Since then, the Center for Disease Prevention and Control has reported that 42,000 people have been diagnosed with West Nile, and 1,800 have died from the virus. Four years ago, we saw the biggest outbreak of West Nile since the 1999 scare; 1,118 cases were reported, most of which came from Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.
Although it's not at all likely that the U.S. will see a Zika outbreak anything like what we've witnessed in Latin America, experts say there is still a risk of contracting it from mosquito bites in America. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado released a statement saying that the Aedes aegypti mosquito responsible for Zika outbreaks overseas "will likely be increasingly abundant across much of the southern and eastern United States as the weather warms." One of the biggest concerns of contracting the Zika virus is birth defects amongst pregnant women. Early symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.
What Can We Do To Prevent Getting Bitten So Often?
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