Lifestyle or other health factors may also play a role, said Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic.
“If body temperature is higher, you’re exercising and moving around a lot, or if you’re drinking alcohol, you are more attractive to mosquitoes,” Piliang said. “Being pregnant or being overweight also increases metabolic rate.”
One study showed that people who consumed just one can of beer were more at risk of attracting mosquitoes than those who didn’t.
“If you’ve been moving around all day doing yardwork and then you stop around dusk and drink a beer on your patio, you’re definitely at risk of bites,” Piliang said.
How To Prevent Mosquito Bites
Just because you might be more prone to bites doesn’t mean they have to be an inevitability.
“One of the very best things to do is to avoid peak activity times [for mosquitoes],” Day said. “There are very, very few species that are active in the middle of the day. They are very selective. Sunrise and sunset are when you’ll see peak activity.” Switching your early morning run to an after-work run could help here.
Of course, this tip won’t help you if you’re, say, throwing a BBQ for friends later at night. Try to cover as much skin as you can in these cases, Day said, especially in areas or at times mosquitoes are most likely to be present.
“I love the fishing shirts and the long-legged outdoor pants that are breathable, but they prevent mosquitoes,” Day said. “A repellent that has a good protection time ― defined as the time from when you apply to when you get the first bite ― is also great. Roughly 5% DEET sprays gives you 90 minutes of complete coverage.”
DEET is a common ingredient in insect repellents, and sprays with DEET are probably the way to go if you know you’re at risk of bites, Piliang said. Despite the controversy over the health effects of DEET, a 2014 review by the Environmental Protection Agency re-concluded that normal use of DEET products does not pose a risk to one’s health, including children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women.
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