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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

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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