Mosquitoes have been around for millions of years, as opposed to say humanity’s few thousand, so in terms of talent in sheer survival as a species, these insects are practically invincible. This mind-blowing length of time allowed them to develop skills on how to look for dinner (i.e. by sucking your blood) which, in turn, spreads the much dreaded dengue fever, among other more dangerous illnesses. In this article, we’re giving you six ways you attract mosquitoes, and one simple way to fend them off.
1. You keep on breathing.
Seriously, mosquitoes can smell people who emit carbon dioxide (i.e. all of us who aren’t dead) from up to 50 meters away. So I guess the lesson is to not breathe?
2. You sweat a lot.
Or, more accurately, your skin excretes huge amounts of the metabolic by-products of cholesterol and other substances which, aside from carbon dioxide, mosquitoes can detect and smell.
Also, people who can quickly reduce cholesterol levels in their blood send the by-products to their skin; ergo, having low cholesterol in your bloodstream might actually mean that you are a bigger target for mosquitoes (yay, more good news). Best of luck with trying not to sweat in our tropical weather.
3. You smell really bad.
In particular, mosquitoes are attracted to people with a ton of foul-smelling bacteria on their skin. So a shower may be in order, unless you like being an insect’s dinner.
4. You smell really good.
Skip the scented soap please, or any perfume or cologne for that matter. Mosquitoes are generally attracted to scents (especially fruity and floral ones), so it’s a good idea to just stick to a regular, unscented bar of soap.
5. You look good in black.
Or any dark color for that matter, which attracts mosquitoes quite effectively. I’m not so sure if lighter colors repel them (I doubt it), but still, it’s much better than actually wearing clothes that attract insects that want to eat you.
6. You’re hot.
Literally and figuratively. Mosquitoes are like heat-seeking missiles with powers that allow them to detect the nearest warm body in the vicinity.
If you’re the type who likes to exercise to maintain your great body, then you’re also probably what mosquitoes refer to as a “walking buffet”, since you excrete more sweat (see #2 and #3), breathe more heavily (see # 1) and produce more heat.
But it’s not a completely futile battle. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions on how to protect yourself against mosquitoes and dengue here, which you might want to take a look at. In particular, we suggest always wearing an insect repellent lotion when you go out so that you are protected.
Green Cross actually has great options for insect repellent lotions for the whole family. For adults who are planning to stay for long periods of time outdoors, we suggest you use the Active Protect variant, which offers the most reliable protection of up to 10 hours. The Family Protect variant is good for folks who do not spend a lot of time outdoors, and it comes with protection that lasts for more than 4 hours.
For kids, use the Gentle Protect variant, a Picaridin-based insect repellent lotion with a light and non-greasy feel, and which offers protection of up to 8 hours.