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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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