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Why do mosquitoes attack some but leave others alone?

There are numerous factors that could make you a favorite meal for insects.

ATLANTA – It’s not enough that our summer has been hot and muggy, the buzzing annoyance of mosquitoes provide an added irritation, especially to anyone who is a favored target of flying pests.

Perhaps you’re one of those people who find yourself slapping and spraying during an outdoor party while bugs are leaving everyone else alone, and you can’t help but wonder… Why?

There are numerous factors that could make you a favorite meal for insects.

Dr. Sharon Bergquist, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory Healthcare, says mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide.

“Heat and carbon dioxide, emitted during the process of metabolism, seem to draw mosquitoes,” says Dr. Bergquist.

So, if you’re a heavy breather, watch out.

Dr. Bergquist says there are over 300 chemicals in our skin that can attract mosquitos. One chemical odor can attract one strain of mosquito while a different odor attracts yet another strain.

“Much of our skin chemicals and carbon dioxide emissions are genetic,” says Dr. Bergquist. “Some of us may be destined to be better meals for these critters.”

Your blood type can make you a target. Most people emit secretions that tell a mosquito your blood type, and for some reason, mosquitos seem to find Type O blood the tastiest.

The way you dress could also have an impact.

"People dressed in dark colors stand out in the environment, provide more contrast to things around them, and produce a larger heat signature," says Elmer Gray, Public Health Specialist with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. "Movement will also increase your attractiveness."

If you’re really unlucky, your reaction to a mosquito bite is worse than others.

Our body reacts to the saliva secreted by female mosquitos on the prowl. Our reaction all depends on our body’s immune system.

Some people don’t produce enough of the antibodies needed to counter an attack. Repeated exposure to bug bites can help your body produce those antibodies.

So, as unpleasant as it may seem, the more mosquitoes munch on you, the better your reaction.