Every summer when the monsoon arrives, Arizonans greet an unwelcome guest: mosquitoes. I don't know about you, but I'm the kind of person who will get attacked by mosquitoes all hours of the day, almost all year round.
In fact, somewhere, some mosquito is lying down, rubbing its belly in satisfaction with a huge grin on its face and ready for a nap, after feasting on my blood earlier this morning. In return, I'm now "that girl" with a big, red, itchy bump on the back of her leg.
Maybe you went out for an early morning jog, or maybe you enjoyed an evening barbecue with family, only to later find the telltale sign on your skin that one of those vampire-like pests had its way with you.
Mosquitoes carry diseases that can make people sick, and in some cases, be fatal. When a person is bit, they may be infected with West Nile, Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya or one of several other viruses that can cause some pretty nasty symptoms.
Who's a mosquito magnet?
According to the American Mosquito Control Association, research shows about 20 percent of people are especially enticing to mosquitoes.
1. Larger than average: Those who are overweight, as well women in their late stages of pregnancy and are exhaling more carbon dioxide than average. Through smell, mosquitoes are attracted to that CO2 cloud from far distances.
2. Exercising: When you sweat, lactic acid forms. This is a big attractant for mosquitoes. Sweat also indicates body heat, which makes you stand out as well.
3. Carrying O blood: Studies show people with this blood type exude certain odors that mosquitoes find alluring.
4. Drinking booze: Research suggests those who've just thrown back a beer attract mosquitoes more than those who stuck with sparkling water. There's no clear reason why, but scientists conclude it could be because of increased sweat and a warmer skin temperature as a result from consuming alcohol.
5. Wearing dark colors: Mosquitoes search for victims through sight as well. Late in the afternoon, people who are dressed in black, navy blue and red will be more visible to them. Stick with light colors when choosing your outfit for the day.
6. Wearing sandals: Some mosquitoes are dubbed "ankle biters." They normally attack your lower limbs after smelling the stink of bacteria on your feet.
How to protect yourself?
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the most effective ways to ward off mosquitoes include wearing insect repellent that has DEET, or wearing long sleeves and long pants while outdoors.