We already know that as we exercise and exhale more excessively, our body gives off more heat, sweat and carbon dioxide, which can attract mosquitoes that carry a nasty bite. Other bodily functions exude different fluids as we exercise, and often these are irresistible to these airborne pests.
Fit Bodies Are Scent-sational
Not to be confused with perspiration, 80% of us give off other types of bodily secretions, also known as saccharides and antigens. These flow through our skin and unknowingly indicate our individual blood type to these pests. Research has shown that mosquitoes are drawn to certain blood types more often than others. In this case, pests are more drawn to those with type O blood, and less to people with type A coursing through their veins.
Other ways we could be attracting these flying bloodsuckers include (but are not limited to):
- Without bacteria, our sweat would actually be odorless. Therefore, mosquitoes wouldn’t be attracted to what we humans consider as body odor, which is one of the many reasons we always shower after working out.
- Lactic acid is another substance that we secrete when we’re more active and this can also change according to what we eat and drink
Itching and Swelling
Many people wonder why mosquito bites itch and Mother Nature has the answer to that question. Predators are often equipped with certain types of defense mechanisms that protect them when they attack, and these flying pests are no different.
When a mosquito bites, it inserts their stinger (or proboscis) into our skin in order to draw blood. They release an anticoagulant found in their saliva so that our blood does not clot and cause the proboscis to become stuck. By the way, only female mosquitoes need blood to produce eggs that turn into more of these insects!
Once bitten, our bodies recognize this foreign substance and release histamines to the affected area. It’s the histamine reaction that causes the itching. The released histamines also cause our blood vessels to enlarge, and this causes the raised bump (or swelling) around the wound.
Protection and Prevention
In many third world countries, they’re still using mosquito nets as protection from these flying insects. It is important to note that mosquitoes can carry spreadable diseases like malaria and the Zika virus. These nets are used primarily when people are sleeping and are more inexpensive than the obvious choice, using insect repellent on our bodies and/or clothing.
Insecticides usually contain an unpleasant odor or smelly chemical that helps to ward off these intruders, but there are also some effective home remedies to use in their place such as:
- Apple cider vinegar (and the consumption of this liquid is also said to work on both mosquitoes and blackflies)
- Baby oil
- Lemon eucalyptus oil
- Onion oil
- Radish oil or juice
- Vanilla extract (also repels black flies)
From The Inside Out
Just like how the consumption of apple cider vinegar is said to ward of these insects, other foods we eat may help to keep these bugs at bay. Referring back to the secretion of lactic acids, some things we consume give off aromas that are intoxicating to these critters including:
Beer Drinkers Beware:
For some reason, scientists have found that those that enjoy this tasty, sudsy beverage seem to attract these biting insects. Even if you imbibe just one twelve-ounce can, these bugs seem to be attracted to either an increase in your body temperature or a higher level of ethanol in the bloodstream.
Many foods we eat are high in potassium and again, for some odd reason, bugs like people who eat things like avocados, bananas, lima beans, potatoes and raisins that are rich in potassium.
These pesky bugs also seem to enjoy salt intake inside their victims, so cutting down on salty snacks like crackers, chips, nuts, pretzels and other foods tainted with excessive amounts of salt may help.
Apparently our intake of sugar also tends to send these pests into a frenzy.
Most of these recommendations and realizations are already cohesive with our workout routines and being hygienic. But it’s always good to know how we can repel these little irritants from invading our space and irritating our reality.