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Dr. Dave Hnida's Blog

Are You A Mosquito Magnet?

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(credit: AP)

(credit: AP)

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Written by Dr. Dave Hnida CBS4 Medical EditorIt’s amazing how some people can spend hours outdoors and never be bugged by a bug — yet others turn into mosquito pin cushions.

What is it that makes some people just super attractive to the bite of this bug?

Overall, it’s a combination of sight and smell, with an emphasis on the latter when it comes to a mosquito deciding if you are a tasty treat.

The first has to do with vision. Mosquitoes don’t have the best eyesight in the insect world, but they are attracted to motion and to color. Run around, and you’ll be noticed. Wear dark clothing, and you become a more attractive target.

More important is smell. The human body gives off — on average — the odor of about 340 chemical scents.  And some bugs just love some of those 340, especially those found in sweat, the carbon dioxide of exhaled breath, and even the by products of alcohol that get excreted through sweat glands.

Then there are the attractive fragrances found in perfumes. body lotions, and deodorants — mousquitoes love those odors as well.

So when you think about it, the easiest way to make yourself into a meal is to go out at dusk (feeding time), run around wearing dark clothing, working up a sweat, panting like a dog, guzzling a beer, and smelling like a rose.

To protect yourself, do the opposite.

One final point, a study showed one other mosquito trigger: smelly socks and dirty feet.

The chemicals you put out with those are an insect’s delight. So wash you feet, and change your socks.

Please.

Not just for the bugs, but also for those of us who need to be around you.

Thank you.

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