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Seeing as Asia is not free from Zika virus threat yet, any strategy to reduce the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito when you are pregnant or looking to conceive is best be taken. Today's article outlines the reasons you could be mosquitoes' magnet, and how to stop being one.

Because yes, mosquitoes do have their own blood-sucking preferences, not unlike humans' gastronomic ones. Therefore, it should come as no surprise why some people seem to get bitten all the time while their friends escape unscathed. But take heart, because if you are one of them, you are not alone and no,baby clothes(external link), you are definitely not imagining things either. As it turns out, an estimated 20% of people (that's more than 1 billion people!) are mosquito magnets so, how is this unfortunate chunk of the world population different from the rest? Science says it boils down to sight and smell, and a little bit of genetics. Here are the 5 factors that play a huge role in making you a mosquitoes mecca, according to science!

1. Your blood type
Female mosquitoes rely on the protein in our blood for the production of eggs, which is probably why your blood type is one of the biggest factors in determining if you score three Michelin stars in the mosquitoes' books. A study in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that mosquitoes are extra attracted to individuals with type O blood. The experiment found that mosquitoes landed on individuals with type O blood nearly TWICE as often as those with Type A in a controlled setting, while people with Type B blood fell somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It is suggested that this could be due to the fact that people with type O blood emanate certain odours that give mosquitoes a buzz....

2. Your rate of carbon dioxide production
Smelling the carbon dioxide emitted in people's breath is one of the ways by which mosquitoes locate their target (using their maxillary palp) and those who tend to produce more carbon dioxide are people with high metabolic rates, people who are larger and pregnant women. You know that mosquito buzzing around the ears annoyance you sometimes get at night? That is simply down to the fact that you exhale carbon dioxide through your nose and mouth! And why pregnant women, you ask. This is due to the fact that women who are in the third trimester tend to breathe heavier, which results in a 21% increased exhale of CO2. Besides, a rise in body temperature also makes these poor mums-to-be extra enticing to mosquitoes, which brings us to the third factor...

3. Your sweat
Or more specifically, lactic acid, uric acid and ammonia. Lactic acid is a byproduct of strenuous physical activity that is excreted through sweat, alongside uric acid and ammonia. Lactic acid can also be emitted through your skin when you consume certain foods. e.g. fermented soy products like miso. The amount of uric acid and ammonia emitted is on the other hand, mostly based on your genes. Moreover, when you sweat, your body temperature also rises, further contributing to making you mosquitoes' feast.

4. The bacteria on your skin
Our skin is brimming with microscopic life, and these colonies are responsible for exuding the distinct fragrance that attracts mosquitoes. Plus, if you paid attention in science class, you would have known that fresh sweat does not smell it only does after these bacteria have broken it down into acids. A 2011 study has also found that having large amounts of a few types of bacteria makes skin more appealing to mosquitoes, as opposed to those with a greater diversity in smaller amounts. This could explain why mosquitoes are more drawn to the feet region than anywhere else the feet region is a particularly rich source of bacteria.

5. Your clothes
Apart from scent, mosquitoes also use their sight to locate their targets. According to James Day, a medical entomologist at the University of Florida, wearing dark colours that stand out (to them) such as black, navy blue or red may make you a lot easier to find. But hang on, you think, dark colours do not stand out as much as light colours! That is true, but only in humans' case because mosquitoes can actually see dark colours a lot better than they do light colours, so be right back while I get rid of all my black hiking clothes and shoes.

6. Booze (yes, them mosquitoes really hate us)
A 2002 study published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association has found that drinking just a 354ml/12-ounce beer makes you more attractive to mosquitoes. Scientists initially suspected that this was due to the increase in the amount of ethanol excreted in sweat, but so far, they have not been able to found an exact correlation. Some have even attributed it to the increase in body temperature when you drink booze but all things considered, it remains a bloody mystery (no pun intended) to this day why mosquitoes are attracted to boozers!

What you CAN DO take note, mums-to-be!
If you count yourself as one of the lucky ones like yours truly, who has type O blood coursing through her veins, there is thankfully a number of ways to repel mosquitoes, short of changing your blood type.

The most obvious one is to keep yourself SWEAT-FREE by showering more often to reduce the buildup of lactic acid. You should also shower straight away after a workout session, before the bacteria on your skin have a chance to make you stink. If you are outdoors, wearing light-coloured clothing will help tremendously in keeping those mozzies at bay,baby safety(external link), as does creating a barrier between your skin and them that is, long sleeved-tops and long pants!

Otherwise, there are many products in the market that would prevent you or your loved ones from becoming mosquitoes' dinner. Unfortunately, most of them are loaded with DEET, a pesticide that can cause many negative health effects such as rashes, skin irritation, headaches and nausea. Applecrumby & Fish,baby car seats(external link), Malaysia's leading online baby store is aware of this and stocks a considerable range of DEET-free alternatives for everyone. Some popular ones include the Human Nature 100% Natural Bug Shield Mosquito Repellent DEET-Free Oil

the super convenient Simba Noisfree Diary Natural Orange Scent Mosquito Repellent Sticker

Purple Frog Insect Shielder just stick them anywhere you want mosquitoes gone! But the best thing? They are all safe to use from birth!

I hope you have learned something new from this article! If you have any pregnant friends, please share this article to make them more aware!

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