After a long day of pick-up sports and barbequing you may find yourself covered in mosquito bites while others around you go untouched.
What makes mosquitoes attracted to one person over another? It has to do mostly with your genetics; 20 percent of people are considered “high attractors,” meaning they're especially prone to bites.
Aside from being a bit painful, mosquito bites are generally harmless, but with illnesses such as malaria, West Nile and Zika virus on the rise, it doesn’t hurt to protect yourself.
Here are the four kinds of people mosquitos are most attracted to:
1. Pregnant women
Mosquitoes use the gas we exhale, carbon dioxide (CO2), to find their targets. And they can find people from approximately 165 feet away! Larger people, including pregnant women, give off more CO2 than a smaller sized person, making them bigger targets for bites. Higher internal temperatures, which is linked to pregnancy, is also attractive to mosquitos.
Be prepared to ward off mosquitos if you're planning to play an outdoor sport or activity that will make you sweat. Mosquitoes love sweat. They're attracted to the chemicals found in perspiration. Make sure you drink plenty of water to reduce the chemicals in your sweat. This will help make you less appealing to mosquitos.
Drinking alcohol increases your chances of being bitten. Scientists aren't exactly sure what attracts mosquitoes to liquor, but some believe drinking can raise your internal temperature.
4. People with type O blood
Blood type is a huge factor that increases your risk of mosquito bites — specifically, people with type O blood. Mosquitoes are 83 percent more likely to land on people with type O than people with any other type. The least likely to get bitten are people with type A blood.
You can’t change your blood type, but there are things you can do to protect yourself from mosquitoes.
What you can do to prevent mosquito bites
Prevent irritating bites by wearing a repellent with 30 percent DEET. For a more natural repellent, try a combination of lemon and eucalyptus oil. When possible, you should also wear long sleeves and pants to create a barrier between your skin and mosquitoes.
And if you do get mosquito bites?
Calm that area down with calamine lotion or an oatmeal bath to reduce the irritation which will make you less likely to scratch.