Do you ever feel like you're a giant magnet for mosquitoes? While that might be because of your particular blood type (they’re big fans of type O), there could be another culprit making you an especially tempting bug buffet. You may notice an uptick in bites while you’re out at a backyard BBQ enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two (or three, we don’t judge).
Insects are drawn to the aroma of alcohol in sweat, reports a study from the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA). It observed that volunteers who drank just 350 milliliters (a little less than a pint) of beer suffered a “significantly increased” level of bites than those who abstained. If you think avoiding brewskies is the answer, we regret to inform you that it actually doesn’t matter which type of alcohol you prefer — those buggers aren’t picky.
Obviously, we aren’t saying you shouldn’t have a drink while having fun at outdoor festivities, you should just make sure you take extra precautions to make yourself less tasty to these annoying pests. It’s not just about preventing the frustrating itch they inflict, but the potential that they could be carrying a virus. It varies depending on the area of the world you're in, but according to the AMCA, American mosquitoes can carry a disease known as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (Triple E). As the name suggests, it's more prominent along the east coast of the country. It's not just horses who can contract it, though, humans are susceptible, too. Symptoms can range from benign to severe headaches and seizures. Investing in a reliable bug spray, like OFF! Botanicals Insect Repellent ($4.99, Amazon), is a good idea.
Some rumors claim that you can counteract this pesky problem by drinking plenty of coffee. Although caffeine is a natural deterrent for mosquitoes and other bugs, there has sadly been little proof that it can be effective when consumed. However, you can still use the grounds of coffee or instant coffee crystals to help keep skeeters at bay. Sprinkle them around your yard — especially in any area where stagnant water might pile up after a rainy day — to help minimize swarms from moving in.
Whether this is just a summertime issue or year round problem in your neck of the woods, here’s hoping we can all be bite-free as much as possible!
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