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BY: Fleur Michell
Mosquitoes are not only annoying, ruining many a dinnertime barbecue (they feed in the early evening), they’re also dangerous: They can harbour diseases such as Ross River Virus and are responsible for 6,500 of these cases a year! And this summer, the Australian population of mosquitoes is due to explode to its highest level in a decade, thanks to unseasonal rainfalls.
So why is it that some people never get bitten by mosquitoes while others have them lining up at their limbs buffet table-style, ready to dig in? Turns out there’s numerous aggravating reasons.
1. Mosquitoes love: People who stink.
Bad news for sweaty types with B.O.: The stronger you smell, the easier it is for mosquitoes to find you. But annoyingly, mosquitoes are also attracted to perfume -- particularly floral scents and alpha hydroxy lotions containing lactic acid. Even more frustrating, some people emit mosquito-attracting odour markers based on their blood type, even if they don’t smell of anything! Research by Japanese entomologist Dr Yoshikazu Shirai found the biggest casualties are those with type O blood.
Solution: Shower and go easy on perfume. If your natural scent’s still appealing, spray yourself with a mosquito repellant containing DEET. Mosquitoes also hate natural repellents like cintronella- infused wrist bands, patches, candles and coils.
2. Mosquitoes love: Stress-free people.
Yes, that’s right. Studies by Britain’s Rothamstead Research facility reveal that when we’re stressed, we emit certain odours. Tests showed mosquitoes were repelled by these odours -- perhaps deeming the host “unpalatable” and not of good nutritional value -- and moved onto more chilled-out folks.
Solution: Er, get angry? It probably won’t be hard if you’re fed up with bites already.
3. Mosquitoes love: Darker looks.
Specifically if you wear dark clothes. The University of South Australia’s Mosquito Research Laboratory says mosquitoes respond to dark colours, especially blue. Plus, if you’re clowning around, waving your arms, they’ll come in for the kill, simply because they can see you better.
Solution: Wear white and bright colors -- and don’t make a spectacle of yourself!
4. Mosquitoes love: Heavy breathers.
The more you pump out carbon dioxide, the more you’ll indentify yourself as the next meal.
Solution: Save that good-for-you deep breathing for a time and place you know mosquitoes aren’t around -- such as a morning beach walk.
5. Mosquitoes love: Warm people.
We don’t mean personality-wise. Rather, mosquitoes are heat-seeking missiles attracted to warmth. This is unfortunate for pregnant women, who emit higher body temperatures, and sadly, those drinking, as alcohol warms up your skin.
Solution: Keep cool -- fan yourself, which may also blow mosquitoes away, get rid of warm stagnant water pools around your yard … and ease up on the booze (or just drink inside).
Do mosquitoes love you? Talk about it below or connect with us @OralCareHealth Australia/New Zealand
Fleur Michell is the managing editor of Oral Care and Health Daily (Australia & New Zealand). She has written numerous health articles for such national publications as New Idea, Take 5, Cosmopolitan Pregnancy, Diabetic Living and The Sunday Telegraph’s Body+Soul.
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