According to a recent article in the New York Times, mosquitoes
find some people tastier than others. While many think they are
more attracted to the sweeter sex due to women's higher estrogen
levels, the fact is that gender does play a role but not in the way
most people think.
As one report in the Annals of Internal Medicine
points out, men are more likely to be attacked, primarily because
of their body size. "Larger persons tend to attract more
mosquitoes," the study said, "perhaps because of their greater
relative heat or carbon dioxide."
"In addition to carbon dioxide, lactic acid is strong attractant
which is why people are attacked more when they are outside and
sweating" said Dr. Clifford W. Bassett of Allergy and Asthma Care
of New York. "Mosquitoes can sense these chemicals off the skin
from up to 30 meters away," Dr. Bassett added.
Mosquitoes are attracted to women in a similar way. In a Lancet
Study in 2000, scientists compared pregnant women with their
non-pregnant counterparts and found that pregnant women attracted
twice as many mosquitoes. The study found that pregnant women
exhaled more carbon dioxide and had higher body temperatures, which
allowed mosquitoes to sense them more easily.
Insect repellent containing DEET can help ward off mosquito
bites and for those who react strongly to bites, taking an oral
antihistamine can lessen the itch after a bite.
THE BOTTOM LINE - Research suggests that men
are more likely to be attacked by mosquitoes than are women.