Updated: July 15, 2021 10:12:45 am
Mosquitoes are pesky, blood-sucking, disease-carrying beings which cause a host of health problems. In the monsoon season, especially, doctors advise people to keep hygiene at home, and avoid the accumulation of water on any open surface.
Of the many reasons that people detest mosquitoes, their bite qualifies as number one. Imagine sitting in a garden at dusk and being attacked by the insects. Some people also think they are more susceptible to mosquito bites than others, in that they attract these pesky little things more, and as a result are more troubled.
But how does that happen? If there indeed is any truth to it, why is it that mosquitoes bite some people more than others?
There is a logical scientific explanation for this.
In a 2014 article published in TIME, Dr Jonathan Day, a medical entomologist and mosquito expert at the University of Florida, had noted that mosquitoes are indeed more fond of certain people. “Some people produce more of certain chemicals in their skin. And a few of those chemicals, like lactic acid, attract mosquitoes,” he had explained.
It is also said that there is evidence that one blood type (O) attracts mosquitoes more than others (A or B). Day had also said that because genes dictate blood type, genetics was a factor for why some people are attacked more.
In the article, the entomologist had gone on to explain that mosquitoes “use CO2 as their primary means of identifying bite targets”, and because “all vertebrates produce carbon dioxide, what better way could there be for a mosquito to cue in on a host?”
Additionally, “pregnant women and overweight or obese people tend to have higher resting metabolic rates, which may make them more attractive to mosquitoes” he was quoted as saying.
Other factors, Day explained, included wearing dark clothing and “lots of motion”, such as “moving around a lot or gesturing”, signalling for the female mosquitoes to come and bite.
Weighing in on this, Dr Praveen Gupta, director-neurology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, told indianexpress.com that in order to stay safe from mosquito bites, people ought to know about what makes them more prone than others.
He stated the following factors:
1. Some studies have found that those with O blood group get more mosquito bites.
2. Some people secrete more chemicals via sweat, which attract mosquitoes.
3. Those who sweat too much, giving out lactic acid and ammonia.
4. Those who give out more carbon dioxide.
5. Those who have a higher body temperature.
6. People who drink alcohol, especially beer — secreted via sweat. For them, the body temperature is higher.
7. Those who have genetic prebondance to the same.
If you qualify for any of these mosquito-attracting attributes, stay safe. Day recommended “protective clothing”, with “lots of the lightweight, breathable fabrics made for athletes or fishermen, woven tightly enough to protect you from bugs”.