Critters, midgies, little sh&ts, Mozzies; these are all names for the hated mosquito, that blood-sucking, infection-giving bug which can take lives, ruin holidays and at least, permanently mark beautiful skin to boot. Bet you all have one friend that can walk through the jungle bare-skinned and come out the other side without so much as a nibble being had, whilst you will be itching to kingdom come. Have you ever wondered why you?
According to those that know, it’s all down to genetics. 85% of our susceptibility to the wee critters is thanks to our bloodline. Scientists also believe that the individual chemistry of our skin can attract them too.
People who have high concentrations of steroids, from creams or ointments for example, and those who have higher strains of cholesterol on their skin surface attract mosquitoes more. This is not to say that if you have high cholesterol you will be their no1 target, what it means is that for some of us, our bodies are better at processing the cholesterol and as such, for those that aren’t better, byproducts of this chemical tend to remain on the surface of the skin.
And it’s not just steroids and cholesterol, people who sweat a lot tend to have more uric and lactic acid on the surface of their skin and mosquitoes can smell this and are attracted to it. In fact, those critters have wicked a wicked sense of smell and can pick up your tasty aroma from up to 50 metres away. And this is why the carbon dioxide humans emit attracts them too. And the bigger the human, the more carbon dioxide we let off! Which is why adults and pregnant women emit more than children. And then there’s movements and heat, especially body heat too.
So who’s at greater risk? A large, sweaty, talkative adult who moves a lot, plays sport and perhaps uses steroids on their skin for eczema perhaps? Hmmm…
photo credit: Wikipedia