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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others?

 
You know how frustrating mosquito bites can be, itchy bites is not the only hate! The ugly spot when people claim that you have those "coins" on your fair skin is anger.
 
Well why do mosquitoes bite some people and not the others. There are many factors - Blood type, metabolism, exercise and what you wear can make individuals especially delicious to mosquitoes.
Being in the all year summer city, I almost covered myself with mosquito bites throughout the 12 months - like you can definitely find 1 bite on me each time you see me. Terrible!
And the worst part is to have your friends innocently proclaim that they don’t have any. Or you sit down at an outdoor café to find your ankles and wrists aflame with bites, while your friends are unscathed.
Well and I did a research, it turns out that about 20 percent of people are especially delicious for mosquitoes, and get bit more often on a consistent basis. And while scientists don’t yet have a cure for the ailment, other than preventing bites with insect repellent (which, we’ve recently discovered, some mosquitoes can become immune to over time), they do have a number of ideas regarding why some of us are more prone to bites than others. Here are some of the factors that could play a role:


Carbon Dioxide
One of the key ways mosquitoes locate their targets is by smelling the carbon dioxide emitted in their breath -  they use an organ called a maxillary palp to do this, and can detect carbon dioxide from as far as 164 feet away. As a result, people who simply exhale more of the gas over time - generally, larger people - have been shown to attract more mosquitoes than others. This is one of the reasons why children get bit less often than adults, on the whole.

Blood Type
Not surprisingly - since, after all, mosquitoes bite us to harvest proteins from our blood - research shows that they find certain blood types more appetizing than others. One study found that in a controlled setting, mosquitoes landed on people with Type O blood nearly twice as often as those with Type A. People with Type B blood fell somewhere in the middle of this itchy spectrum. Additionally, based on other genes, about 85 percent of people secrete a chemical signal through their skin that indicates which blood type they have, while 15 percent do not, and mosquitoes are also more attracted to secretors than nonsecretors regardless of which type they are.

Exercise and Metabolism
In addition to carbon dioxide, mosquitoes find victims at closer range by smelling the lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other substances expelled via their sweat, and are also attracted to people with higher body temperatures. Because strenuous exercise increases the build up of lactic acid and heat in your body, it likely makes you stand out to the insects. Meanwhile, genetic factors influence the amount of uric acid and other substances naturally emitted by each person, making some people more easily found by mosquitos than others.

Skin Bacteria
Other research has suggested that the particular types and volume of bacteria that naturally live on human skin affect our attractiveness to mosquitoes. In a 2011 study, scientists found that having large amounts of a few types of bacteria made skin more appealing to mosquitoes. Surprisingly, though, having lots of bacteria but spread among a greater diversity of different species of bacteria seemed to make skin less attractive. This also might be why mosquitoes are especially prone to biting our ankles and feet - they naturally have more robust bacteria colonies.

Pregnancy
In several different studies, pregnant women have been found to attract roughly twice as many mosquito bites as others, likely a result of the fact the unfortunate confluence of two factors: They exhale about 21 percent more carbon dioxide and their body temperature tends to be warmer than the non preggies.

Clothing Color
I am sure many of you know this from the elderly, whenever you put on a darker colour clothing like a black pant or dress. Dark blue or stronger shade like red, you will be easily "locate" by the mosquitoes.


Genetics
As a whole, underlying genetic factors are estimated to account for 85 percent of the variability between people in their attractiveness to mosquitoes—regardless of whether it’s expressed through blood type, metabolism, or other factors. Unfortunately, the scientist have yet identify the genes. But I reckon for now, it is definitely one of the factor because my mum is a mosquitos feeder. I am the daughter.

Natural Repellants
Some researchers have started looking at the reasons why a minority of people seem to rarely attract mosquitoes in the hopes of creating the next generation of insect repellents. Using chromatography to isolate the particular  chemicals these people emit, scientists at the UK’s Rothamsted Research lab have found that these natural repellers tend to excrete a handful of substances that mosquitoes don’t seem to find appealing. Eventually, incorporating these molecules into advanced bug spray could make it possible for even a Type O, exercising, pregnant woman in a black shirt to ward off mosquitoes for good.

Gentle reminder to everyone, keep clear of unused flower pot or anything that trapped water. Beware of DENGUE! Take care peeps! cheers!

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