As someone who has an allergic reaction to mosquito bites, I was both concerned & interested to hear in the news this week, that these little buggers could be carrying diseases over to the UK by 2030.
Unfortunately for me, I attract them & then have a terrible reaction to the bites often being quite unwell for weeks. On many occasions when I have been with my brother on trips, I am bitten to pieces while he escapes with 1 or 2 slightly irritating bites. So why do mozzies find “me” so attractive & why do I react so badly?
It has been estimated that 20% of us are bitten more than others due to various factors including blood type & beer drinking. It appears that it’s the insect salvia which is injected to stop your blood clotting could be the cause. Proteins & enzymes in this saliva what causes the irritation & itch. It is reported that the perfect combination of genetics is the main attraction & sadly that means you cannot do anything about it. Obviously, covering yourself in a repellent that contains the chemical DEET will help but let’s face it, that stuff stinks!
If you produce more lactic acid in your sweat along with octenal & uric acid, not to mention the other 500 different chemicals that could be oozing from your body, then you are always going to be an attractive option to the mosquito.
Octenol is found in sweat and breath – so if you’re sweaty or breathing heavily, you’ll produce more, attracting mozzies. Lactic acid is released through pores in the skin, particularly after exercise. Uric acid is best known as a chemical in urine, but can also build up in the skin.
In some parts of Europe, mosquitoes and ticks – which carry particular diseases transmitted by biting insects – are on the rise. The Asian tiger mosquito has now been reported in 25 different European countries and is widely established in large parts of the Mediterranean.
Other factors are higher body temperatures, type O blood & how much carbon dioxide you inhale. The female mosquito can detect all this from 160ft away. Of course you are never going to be able to work all these factors out but in general, if you have Type O blood (as I do) you are twice as likely to be bitten than Type B.
So to summarise, I cannot change the fact that my blood is Type O & desirable, & if I drink a beer I’m doomed…