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This Is the Reason Some People Are Particularly Attractive to Mosquitoes

This Is the Reason Some People Are Particularly Attractive to Mosquitoes

When I went to Brunei some years ago, I was determined not to take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. I decided to ward off malaria-bearing mosquitoes by taking garlic and vitamin B12 capsules for two weeks prior to departure. It worked like a dream, so on the following trip I used the same procedure and I did not get even one mosquito bite. But there is no scientific evidence that this actually works for everybody, so I cannot recommend it.

There are lots of theories about why mosquitoes attack some people, and not others. Larger persons who emit more C02, beer-drinkers, and sweatier people have all come under scrutiny. There is some evidence that these groups hold some attraction for mosquitoes, so we will have to look at possible reasons and try to find an answer.

We now know that genetics and the body chemistry are the keys to understanding this fatal attraction. Statistically, only about one in ten people are particularly attractive to mosquitoes. It may be of some comfort to know that the Dalai Lama is also one of their targets and that he is not so kindly disposed towards them!

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“My attitude toward mosquitoes and bedbugs is not very favorable or peaceful! “

—Dalai Lama

Why do mosquitoes attack some people and not others?

Let us look at what mosquitoes are looking for when they crash land on our skin. No sexism here but only female mosquitoes will bite as they need mammal blood to feed their eggs. There are also 150 species in the USA alone and they all have preferences for their ideal blood fix. Some experiments use one mosquito species and then get different results when they repeat the experiment with an alternative one.

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Mosquitoes are choosy and they want the best for their eggs. We produce chemicals and microbes which make up our unique body odor. They know exactly the right chemical mix and its odor because this accurately represents the blood they want. They can also detect these attractive aromas up to 100 feet away!

What makes up this chemical mix? Just think that we have 100 trillion microbes which is ten times the number of human cells we possess. We have a unique microbial signature which is mostly due to genetics. This will determine what type of bacteria we host in our gut and bodies. These microbes are an essential part of our immune system so washing frequently is not going to do any good. It will certainly not deter the mosquitoes zooming in because their sense of smell is extremely sharp.

Your blood type is another factor.

The mosquito is after blood and if it smells right, you are going to be a target. In one limited experiment, they found that mosquitoes preferred people with Type O blood twice as much as those with Type A. It is fascinating to know that in 85% of cases, you actually send a chemical signal indicating which blood type you have.

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What makes a delicious cocktail for a mosquito?

More sweat and carbon dioxide have been cited but the results from experiments are not always consistent. This is due mainly to the many different species and the enormously complex odor making mechanisms each of us possesses.

Lactic acid seems to be a definite attraction to most mosquito species and there have been more research studies on this. When you eat certain foods such as cheese, soya, yogurt and pickled vegetables and do vigorous exercise, you will have more lactic acid on your skin. That is very attractive to some mosquito species.

Don’t believe all those people who say they are never bitten!

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The fact is that many more people are bitten by mosquitoes than you would think. It is all due to the reaction as people react in different ways to the mosquito leaving saliva when sucking their blood. This depends on environmental and allergic reactions. Many more people are bitten but because they have no symptoms they are convinced that they are not attractive to mosquitoes. If only they knew!

To sum up, genetics and our chemical/microbial mix are really going to determine whether we are going to be bitten by mosquitoes or not. There seems to be a link between these and the blood type. The amount of CO2 , garlic or alcohol we consume or dark colored clothing are all secondary factors but may help in keeping these mosquitoes at bay.

Practical ways to keep mosquitoes away.

Taking a few simple precautions can help. Covering up most exposed parts of the skin is a definite advantage. You can make sure that you put herbs and plants in your garden or on your balcony which actually repel mosquitos. Avoid going out when humidity is at its peak at dawn and dusk. This is also the time when winds die down which give mosquitoes better landing conditions!

Featured photo credit: mosquito bite/dr-relling via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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