Health Team

Are You a Mosquito Magnet?

Posted August 6, 2007 2:33 p.m. EDT
Updated August 6, 2007 6:15 p.m. EDT

— Are you making yourself a magnet for mosquitoes? If so, the WRAL Health Team has advice on how to keep them away.

Health officials said about in one in every 10 people are mouth-watering meals for mosquitos. Expert Sandra Fisher calls them "mosquito magnets."

"Some people are more attractive to certain species of mosquitos than other people," said mosquito control expert Sandra Fisher.

About 85 percent of our mosquito magneticism comes from one's genes, but there are other reasons like breathing as to why the bloodsuckers might come after you. Some people exhale more carbon dioxide than others.

"Because animals exhale carbon dioxide as part of their respiration process, this is something that mosquitoes are attracted to because they know they're going to get a blood meal," Fisher said.

Mosquitoes also prefer bigger bodies -- biting adults more often than kids. Body heat and sweat from exercise increases your risk as well as body chemistry. Some people have higher levels of cholesterol and lactic acid on their skin, which mosquitoes like.

There are ways to protect yourself. At dusk and dawn, which are prime time for mosquitoes, try to stay inside. Drain any standing pools of water in your yard. Plus, dress in long-sleeve clothing and avoid wearing dark colors since they trap heat so stick with light colors.

"When we say light, we don't just mean lightweight. We mean light in color -- the less contrast the better," Fisher said.

Another remedy for avoiding mosquito bites is using repellent with the chemical DEET.