Do you want a secret mosquito repellant? It’s Me! Keep me within two-three feet of you and the mosquitos will instinctively swarm to me, my skin emitting invisible pulses like morse code, summoning them to feast.
I’m part of the 20% scientists refer to as “highly attractor types,” an unlucky group who is a mecca for the insidious insects. It’s a combination of factors, or so “they” assume; a combination of sights and smells which lure them in. I’ll continue to use my “sweet blood” as an excuse but see validation that people with O blood type are twice as attractive to mosquitoes than those with Type A blood.
On our “babymoon” to St. Martin, I got 60 mosquito bites. (Obviously, I counted them.) Turns out pregnancy makes you more appealing. As if my thrice daily puking wasn’t enough, now I was covered in unbearably itchy hives. During this trip, I thought back to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love:
The itch was maddening at first but eventually melted into a general heat of pure sensation, neither good nor bad, just intense. And that intensity lifted me out of myself and into perfect meditation where I sat in real stillness for the first time in my life.
Two hours later I stood up and assessed the damage.I counted 20 mosquito bites, but not much later all the bites had diminished because truly it all does pass away in the end, and truly there is peace to be learned from that.
I couldn’t meditate myself out of puking or the bites.
My husband swears before he met me he would get bit a dozen times, even by one little mosquito who snuck in through a tiny hole in a screen, while others around him got nothing. Now, he doesn’t get any. Apparently, my blood is satiating enough to keep those around me safe. So no Zika, West Nile, or Malaria worries for him anymore.
Last year we went to see a band in a small venue in the middle of the winter in Rhode Island. As we danced to the music, out of the corner of my eye, I saw it flying through the air. Could a mosquito live in February in Providence? It had to have been a paranoia and I was seeing a mosquito ghost? I swatted as I saw the bug approach me, convinced it must have been a beer gnat or fruit fly.
“There couldn’t possibly be a mosquito in this bar?” I ask my husband as if I saw a pig fly through the air.
“No, impossible!” my husband reassured me.
In the car ride home, I found four bites.
Before our first vacation to Maine, people had warned me about their mosquitos. Off, Deet, natural repellant – none worked. I’m convinced my two-week stay provided a lavish bloody meal for half the mosquito population in the state. I lost count of those bites, but in one spot on my arm, there was a large hive formed by a close constellation of three bites. It had swollen to be the size of a small apricot. I showcased my arm to a sales clerk at a souvenir shop, thinking I was funny. I wanted an insider tip on how to battle these flying parasites. His eyes widened as he stared at my arm in horror and said, “I really think you should go to the hospital to get that checked out.” Fortunately, it takes more than a swollen bite to send a New Yorker to the hospital.
Yesterday I accompanied my son on a short stroll through some mildly grassy area; I mostly stayed on the concrete path. It was in the middle of the day and I felt a false safety, assuming mosquitos only came out at dusk. But my blood must taste good any time of the day. I felt my first bite within five minutes and within fifteen minutes, I had counted ten and declared it was time to go home. The fiery mounds haunted me all night.
I’ve tried many of the at-home anti-itch solutions: Put an “x” in it, spit in it, lemon, garlic, onion, baking soda, salt, ice, heat, rubbing alcohol, toothpaste, and even anti-itch creams yield few results.
Nothing works better to end the itch than not scratching in the first place.