Do you find yourself swatting and scratching while the rest of your family is relaxing peacefully by the pool? Is your blood really sweeter? What is it that mosquitoes find so appetizing in some individuals? The Skin Wellness Physicians team in Marco Island and Naples invites you to dive into what attracts mosquitoes in the first place.
Like most creatures, mosquitoes rely heavily on sight and smell to find their next meal. From a distance, mosquitoes track dark, moving objects. Therefore, it is best to avoid wearing dark clothing. The more you move, the more you stand out. So that swatting you think is batting the bugs away is actually attracting more of a crowd.
Beyond visual cues, mosquitoes use their keen sense of smell to direct them to their next meal. Carbon dioxide emitted with each exhale attracts mosquitoes from more than 150 feet away. Larger individuals or those who are exercising tend to emit more carbon dioxide than others, making them a tastier target.
Besides carbon dioxide, humans secrete hundreds of other compounds in both their breath and sweat that mosquitoes are either attracted to or repelled by. The more widely documented of these compounds that mosquitoes are attracted to are ammonia, lactic acid, and uric acid. Whether or not you are an “over-secreter” of these substances is largely genetically determined, although strenuous activity and exercise can cause you to secrete more of these.
Research also suggests that blood type plays a role in how appetizing you are. A few studies found that mosquitoes landed on individuals with Type O blood more often those without Type O blood.
While you can’t change your blood type, you can control your blood alcohol level. Research indicates that you are more attractive after just one beer—more attractive to mosquitoes, that is. So if you are generally a magnet for bugs, opt for iced tea rather than cracking open a beer at your next BBQ.
Despite your best efforts to blend in with your surroundings, stay still, stay sober, and keep breathing to a minimum, the mosquitoes will still find you. These pests aren’t nicknamed the “Florida State Bird” for no reason. If you plan on enjoying outdoor activities this summer, dress appropriately, but also have repellent with DEET on hand. If you do get bit, cold compresses, antihistamines, and hydrocortisone cream can help alleviate the itching. For additional information, contact us!