Have you ever caught yourself itching all over due to mosquito bites while your friend right next to you is enjoying the outdoors without a single bite? It may seem completely unfair that you’re some kind of mosquito magnet while others barely need a bug spray. Well, the two main factors that attract a mosquito are smell and sight.
If you’re dressed in dark colors you are more likely to be spotted by mosquitoes than those dressed in brighter colors. Another factor is smell. Mosquitoes can whiff out a person who exhales more carbon dioxide.
Aside from scent and sight, there are other factors that make you a likely target for mosquitoes.
Factors that increase the risk of mosquito bites
Blood type: The only thing worse than being bitten by mosquitoes is being the only one getting bitten. Initially, you can blame your blood type for that. Although researchers are unclear about the exact reason why one blood type is more favorable than another, they have noted that type O seems to be the blood of choice.
Skin type: Another factor to keep in mind is one’s skin. Because each person’s skin is different, even if two people are bitten the same number of times, they may get different reactions. For example, one person might be itchier and another may be redder. And another might only get the tell-tale bump with no symptoms at all.
Diet: You may have also heard that your diet can make you more susceptible to bites. It’s been said that eating sweet things makes you more prone to the pests. Researchers haven’t found a diet-bite link, so your sweet tooth is in the clear (for now).
Alcohol: Lastly, there was a small study published in the Journal of American Mosquito Control Association, which involved 13 people who drank beer. Researchers from the study noted that mosquitoes were attracted to their arms. It’s important to consider, though, the study was quite small so more research is needed to confirm this.
How to avoid mosquito bites and heal the ones you have
Clearly, more research is required to fully understand the feeding habits of mosquitoes, but there are things you can do to prevent bites or ease their symptoms.
For starters, if you are planning on being outdoors, oils and scents have been shown to keep mosquitoes away. Whether you use candles or sprays, they can help reduce your risk. If you have sensitive skin, taking antihistamines days prior to being outdoors along with using a spray can reduce swelling and reaction to the bite.
Another easy way to minimize your risk of bites is to avoid certain areas. Woody, grassy, wet, and steamy areas attract more mosquitoes. Avoid traveling – or setting up a picnic – in these environments.
Natural home remedies for mosquito bites
Some natural remedies to ease the itch are to apply lotions and creams or nonprescription hydrocortisone cream. Furthermore, a paste made with baking soda and water can help relieve the itchiness as well. Applying cool compresses to bites can reduce itching and, of course, if the reaction is more severe antihistamines can reduce the reaction.
Lastly, if you have been bitten, do not scratch! It may be tempting, and you may think you’re getting some relief, but scratching will only cause more harm than good. Instead, opt for an over-the-counter after-bite solution or other natural soothing remedy.
You don’t have to let mosquitoes ruin your summer. By protecting yourself and being aware of your surroundings you can limit your chances of getting those pesky bites.
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