Mosquitoes spread Zika, West Nile, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Malaria, resulting in 700 million illnesses a year and a million deaths. Even if you don't get sick from a mosquito bite, the blood thinner they pump into your flesh before draining your blood causes swelling and itching. This article in Smithsonian Magazine lists the factors that make some people more tempting targets than others to mosquito bites. They include:
- Blood type: "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."
- Carbon Dioxide: "people who simply exhale more of the gas over time—generally, larger people—have been shown to attract more mosquitoes than others."
- Exercise: "mosquitoes find victims at closer range by smelling the lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other substances expelled via their sweat"
- Skin bacteria: "scientists found that having large amounts of a few types of bacteria made skin more appealing to mosquitoes"
- Beer: "Just a single 12-ounce bottle of beer can make you more attractive to the insects"
- Pregnancy: "pregnant people exhale about 21 percent more carbon dioxide and are on average about 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than others"
- Clothing color: "wearing colors that stand out (black, dark blue or red) may make you easier to find"
- Genetics: "underlying genetic factors are estimated to account for 85 percent of the variability between people in their attractiveness to mosquitoes"