By: Dr Andrew Weil
Mosquitoes bite people to express proteins from our blood, and they’ve a decided predilection for those who have type O blood. The majority of us (about 85 percent) secrete a chemical signal through the skin that tells mosquitoes whether we have type O blood, type A or the least desired (to them) sort B. Overall, research has demonstrated that mosquitoes favor blood from those of us who secrete the chemical indicate that shows our blood type than those who dont. Mosquitoes need human blood to develop fertile eggs, which explains why the females of the species are the biters.
So why do some folks entice mosquitoes and others dont? .
Mosquitoes are inclined to zero in on those folks who exhale the most carbon dioxide theyre not incapable of finding the wellspring of carbon dioxide from over 160 feet away. The bigger you’re, the more carbon dioxide you exhale. This explains why small children dont get bitten as frequently as grownups and pregnant women, and individuals who are obese or overweight are likely mosquito magnets. Lactic acid, uric acid and ammonia found in human perspiration additionally bring the buzzing bugs, as do people with higher body temperatures.
You might be able to avoid mosquitoes by wearing light colored garments; garments that are dark indicate that youre sting-capable. The bugs also take note of whether youre moving around or standing. They are told by movement youre a living, and for that reason swearing, goal.
Safely shielding yourself from mosquito bites takes some doing. Citronella, expressed from the leaves of a tropical Asian grass linked to lemon grass, has a global reputation as an insect repellent, but evidence for its effectiveness is lacking. Citronella oil goes into candles, lotions, sprays, soaps, and other products made to banish pesky bugs. Although its considered safe, the undiluted oil might raise heart rate in some individuals, and can cause skin irritation.
A study printed in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 found that products containing citronella oil shielded against mosquito bites for under 20 minutes compared to more than five hours for products including highly concentrated DEET, an effective repellent I consider hazardous and disagreeable. The least concentrated citronella products werent as powerful as Skin So Soft Bath Oil (a skin moisturizing product that consumers have come to believe has important repellent effects), which gave a mean of only 9.6 minutes of protection. By The Way, the researchers examined wristbands impregnated with citronella and DEET. Not one of them worked.
Natural insect repellents are my first pick and seem to be more efficient. Eucalyptus oil and neem oil might also work a lot better than citronella. Otherwise, ensure the displays dont have any holes, and your best option would be to stay indoors at dusk when mosquitoes are feeding.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Y. Shirai et al, Landing taste of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) on human skin among ABO blood groups, secretors or nonsecretors, and ABH antigens.
Journal of Medical Entomology, July 2004; 41(4):796-9.
Dr. Weils Vitamin Advisor If you’re interested in supplementing your diet but dont know where to begin, take Dr. Weils Vitamin Advisor. It’s free, and offers a personalized vitamin & nutritional supplement recommendation based on your health history. See now!
Mark S. Fradin and John F. Day, Relative efficacy of insect repellents against mosquito bites. New England Journal of Medicine, July 4, 2002 Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A part of the first content created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (especially, all question and answer-sort posts in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States Permit.