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What Attracts Mosquitoes to Humans?

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Image is from www.bbc.com

Blood Connoisseurs

Some people just have all the charisma with vampire bugs. Mosquitoes prefer certain bloods. Approximately 10% of people are highly attractive to them. Is it how they wear their hair? Are mosquitoes like frat guys who have a particular “type”?

Well, the frat thing probably isn’t the case; the mosquitoes that bite you are female. This is because laying eggs requires blood–but not just your blood; she’ll settle for animals, too. It’s just, if she could have steak or a Slim Jim, she’s going with the steak every time. Wouldn’t you?

Unfortunately, if you’re attractive to mosquitoes, you can’t just “hide” from them. It’s in your genes, at some level. According to WebMD, only 15% of factors influencing mosquito susceptibility are in our control.

The 15% You Can Control

You can do a few things to ensure that only one out of the ten in your group bears the brunt of the mosquito assault. Things which attract mosquitoes and are controllable include:

  • High levels of cholesterol remaining on the skin’s surface after it’s been processed
  • Steroids
  • Excess amounts of uric acid
  • Large emissions of carbon dioxide

Mosquitoes can “smell” you from up to fifty meters. If you’re sweating profusely and exhaling profusely, you’re easier to smell. You’ll be putting off more carbon dioxide. The larger you are, the easier you are to smell, because you are putting off more carbon dioxide. When moving, your body may also begin to heat up. This likely also will produce higher quantities of uric acid through your sweat. And if you’ve used steroids to help you work out, it doesn’t matter how low your cholesterol is; the bugs will be after you. Additionally, the thing about cholesterol which attracts mosquitoes isn’t the aspect which may clog arteries in the wrong quantities. It’s rather how cholesterol is processed by your body, and the residue left on your skin after the fact. Since pregnant women are liable to produce more carbon dioxide than normal, mosquitoes love them, and will come in for a bite extremely often. This doesn’t bode well in areas where the Zika virus has been detected.

Repelling The Blighters If You Are In The 10%

Mosquito repellent with DEET will keep the bugs off you about five hours, but DEET is a chemical repellent which, though statistically minimally, has been known to cause medical issues in some. What’s becoming en vogue today are mosquito traps, which can knock mosquito populations down and help everybody; not just the guy with the tasty blood. There’s also permethrin-laced clothing, which puts the repellent chemicals on the garments rather than the body. Another means of cutting down on mosquito populations includes reducing areas of standing water. Water is where they breed–you’ve seen the little larvae jerking spasmodically around in puddles before. It does not take them long, either; and they’ll keep breeding where the water is. If they find water that isn’t in a pond, it’s to their benefit–there’s a decreased likelihood frogs will eat them.

It’s Not Just Zika

West Nile Virus, Malaria, Dengue Fever, and Zika are all diseases that result from mosquito bites. While most of those have only been seen in America among statistically minimal segments of the population, why put yourself at risk? It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re in the 10% of people more attractive to mosquitoes. The listed diseases affect all 100% of the humans who have been bitten. Granted, some will be affected worse than others, but prevention is still the best option. Eliminate standing water, dress accordingly, and use repellent. (There are organic repellent options.)

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Differences Between Fall Allergies and Spring Allergies

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Image is from weather.com

Whether it’s tree pollen in the spring or ragweed in the fall, allergy symptoms remain the same: itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, headache, and sinus pain and pressure. They also both induce an increase in asthma symptoms. The allergens, themselves, are different in the fall than they are in the spring, and sometimes, fall allergies can be more severe.

The reason that your allergies may be more severe in the fall is because there are far more allergens in the air. In the spring, you are dealing with mostly tree pollen, but in the fall, you are facing weed pollen and molds, which thrive in the fall’s damp weather. Fall’s rotting leaves provide the perfect home for mold growth, and they release spores into the air to reproduce. These tiny spores cause the allergy symptoms you experience. Mold can also build up in shower stalls and on basement walls, making it difficult for you to escape it if you are allergic to it.

There are also more indoor allergens to deal with in the fall, especially late in the season when you are getting out comforters and heavy blankets. This causes the dust mite problem to escalate and can even trigger a greater sensitivity to pet dander. By first frost, however, your outdoor triggers will cease, although due to climate changes, that first frost might begin to arrive later in the season than it has before due to a rise in temperatures and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Spring allergies can be just as volatile, however. This is when trees that have been dormant over the winter come to life and reproduce. They can release a large amount of pollen that many allergy sufferers are sensitive to. There are also many species of trees that release pollen in the spring including walnut, cedar, birch, cottonwood, maple, hickory, oak, and pine.

Just as the tree pollen begins to phase out in late spring, you are greeted with grass pollen, and there are many different grasses that produce this pollen. They include Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda, rye, redtop, timothy, orchid, and sweet vernal. As the grass pollen fizzles out, the late summer ragweed begins releasing pollen, and the cycle begins again.

Knowing which allergens are present during each part of the spring and fall allergy season will help you to determine what you are allergic to. Once you know which allergen or allergens you are reacting to, you can check the pollen counts each day and plan accordingly.

You can also opt to see an allergist for testing and treatment. Once your doctor has determined what your triggers are, you can start immunotherapy. This involves exposing you to increasing amounts of your trigger by regular injections until your body has built up a resistance to it. Then when your allergy season comes around, you will be less likely to react to those triggers.

At the end of the day, both the spring and fall seasons have their share of bothersome allergens. Which season is worse comes down to what you are allergic to and how severe your allergy is.

 

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