I don't know about you, but mosquitoes LOVE me. As soon as summer rolls around, I'm on the dinner menu. While my dad only gets maybe one bite, I come home with about twelve. I always thought that it was in my head, but it turns out there's actually a reason I get bitten so often.
Mosquitoes use smell to find us, which makes sense. Since everyone has slightly different bacteria on their skin, everyone smells a bit different, and it turns out some of us smell better than others.
It's not just our bacterial friends who send out smelly signals; mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide in our breath, and they tend to love people who are exercising.
For those of us who smell irresistible, there's more at stake than just some itchy red bumps. I mean sure, there are other health issues to worry about in the summer, but mosquitoes are one we don't give enough attention to. Mosquitoes carry many diseases, such as malaria, chikungunya, zika, and dengue fever, and kill over one million people each year. That's more deaths from mosquitoes than from humans, snakes, and dogs combined!
If you're planning to travel anywhere affected by these diseases (or even if you just don't want to get bitten!) it's important to know what kinds of mosquito repellents actually work. DEET has gotten a bad rap, but when you compare it with the risk of malaria it suddenly seems like a great option. Sprays containing between 15 and 30 percent DEET are great for repelling mosquitoes and ticks.
If you're still wary of DEET, there are some natural options that are proven to work. Repellents that have at least 20 percent picaridin (which occurs naturally in black pepper) and 30 percent lemon eucalyptus oil keep mosquitoes at bay for seven hours and ward off ticks for six hours. Not bad for a plant based product, right?
This summer, remember that it's all about your health. Be sure to protect your family and yourself.
Check out the full video above to hear more about what makes mosquitoes love some of us more than others, and be sure to SHARE with family and friends who dread mosquito season!
Main and collage images via flickr / Rick Miller