How to Avoid Mosquito Bites

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Nothing can make a summer’s day go downhill like a pack of pesky mosquitos. The worst part is those unattractive little red bumps they leave behind that can take hours to go away. So what is it that makes some people so tasty to those bloodsuckers?

Apparently, 20 percent of people are particularly more attractive to mosquitos—which explains why some people get bit more than others. It all depends on each person’s individual metabolism and body chemistry. Studies also show that people with Type O blood have double the chance of being bit than other blood types.

Mosquitos are also more attracted to pregnant women for a number of reasons. First, very pregnant women exhale about 21 percent more volume than everyone else and mosquitos are attracted to the moisture and carbon dioxide in breath. Second, pregnant women are about one degree hotter than everyone else on average making them more likely to sweat—sweat is like catnip to mosquitos. 

Exercisers are also particularly attractive to mosquitos. In fact, the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) says that exercise can increase your chances of being bitten by 50 percent. That’s due to the enticing combination of sweat, lactic acid and the carbon dioxide you exhale. 

Luckily, there are many ways that you can keep those mosquitos away. One way is to skip those cocktails. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, drinking alcohol increases your chances of being bitten because it stimulates mosquito attraction. Also, don’t plan any outdoor activities during a full moon or around dusk or dawn—these are the most active times for mosquitos, according to the AMCA. 

Your clothing also matters, too. Mosquitos tend to be more attracted to dark clothing, particularly black and red. So your best bet is to wear light colors like yellow, green and khaki since these are the least attractive colors. Socks can also help keep them away since your feet are the most attractive body part to bug because of their odor.

Avoid scented perfumes and lotions as these can attract mosquitos. It’s also a good idea to sit next to a fan or in a breezy area since winds higher than two miles per hour can overpower mosquitos.

Scents like lemongrass, garlic and essential oils like nepetalactone (found in catnip) are effective mosquito repellents. You can make a homemade mosquito repellent by mixing together one part of garlic juice to five parts water. If you’d rather not go the DIY route, a good repellent is Herbal Armor Insect Repellent ($9) because it’s DEET-free and can protect you for about two hours. Another natural alternative is Beekman 1802 Insect Repellent Stick ($12). It’s all natural, chemical-free and made with a blend of goatmilk, beeswax and insect-repelling essential oils. They also offer Bug Soap Repellent Bars ($15) to shower with before outdoor excursions. (These two products can be purchased together as a duo as well.)

If you’ve already been bitten, keep swelling down with ice and use calamine or other creams to stop the itch.

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