One of the greatest things about summer is the opportunity to get outside. But for many, this isn't always such a glorious thing. As the sun starts to set, those pesky mosquitoes make their appearance. They may be tiny but they can sure do a number on you and any part of your body that is exposed. Have you ever wondered why you are being eaten alive while your friends have been left in peace? There are lots of urban myths and misinformation floating around out there but Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., a dermatologist in Washington, D.C., talked to Women's Health and has set the record straight. The primary cause for your susceptibility is none other than your blood type. “We still don't completely understand why or what the issue is with the blood type,” Tanzi says. “But it’s typically type O blood that attracts them.” But there is more to it than that. “There are two things at play here,” says Tanzi. “It's also the fact that some people's skin reacts more vividly than others.” If you have sensitive skin, a bite could cause an inflammatory response similar to hives. This can cause a great deal of swelling which results in those lovely red welts. Some people do get bitten more often than others but some people just notice it more because their skin reacts more strongly. If you are one of those sensitive people, you can help yourself by using antihistamines as well as your bug spray. “Start taking them a couple days before you are exposed to avoid the swelling,” says Tanzi. “The histamines will stabilize in your system, and you won't have the same wild reaction." If you have a big outdoor event on the horizon, start popping some over the counter allergy meds a few days in advance. I know, this explanation is far less fun than some of the wives tales. There is no evidence that certain colours make you more susceptible nor is there any proof that it can be linked to your diet. “People say, ‘Oh, if you’re eating a lot of sweets, you’ll get them,’” says Tanzi. “But scientists don’t know if it’s diet-related.” And for those of you who are concerned that drinking beer attracts the nasty critters, Tanzi says there is no proof of that either. Thank goodness. There is evidence, however, that mosquitoes can be repelled by certain oils. Time to stock up on citronella. It is also important to consider your environment. “Wet, steamy climates are the worst for mosquitos and gnats, especially toward the end of the day,” says Tanzi. “Wooded areas are bad, or grassy beaches where there could be sand fleas.” And if your best efforts fail and you still get a bite or two, remember, DON'T SCRATCH. “By scratching, you cause more trauma to the area, which causes more swelling,” says Tanzi. If you have to tie your hands behind your back, so be it. Picking at it will only make it worse! Do you follow us on Instagram?
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