Mosquitoes Are Here To Ruin Not Only Your Summer, But Beer Drinking Too
On the altar of health and science, Dr Cameron Webb sacrifices himself to mosquitoes.
"I think I must be one of the most frequently bitten people in Australia when it comes to mosquitoes," he told 10 News First.
Webb's a mosquito researcher with NSW Health Pathology, and while it may sound like potentially the worst job in the world to the rest of us, it's important work.
"People don't realise that mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on the planet," Webb warned.
"They kill more people because of the pathogens they transmit. Even in Australia we have mosquito-born diseases that can be potentially fatal."
We're in the midst of a bumper mozzie season and while you may know how to slap 'em, buzz 'em and spray 'em, health experts want you to be aware of the risks they carry.
Thanks to a climate trifecta -- plenty of rain, high tides and warm weather -- mosquito numbers are set to reach new heights this summer season.
"It means that we need to take those steps to avoid mosquito bites, to avoid any of the health risks that come with them," Webb urged.
Feeling Targeted? Why Mozzies Bite Some More Than Others
You've had the conversation before.
"Are you being bitten? I'm being eaten alive! Why do they like me more?"
Unfortunately, it isn't for your great sense of humour.
"Mosquitoes love blood and they will bite people as well as animals, but some people do get bitten more by mosquitoes than others," Webb confirmed.
"We think it probably comes down to the stinkiness of their skin, the bacteria and the chemicals on their skin attract those mosquitoes."
If your friends are comforting you with the classic "you've just got sweet skin!" it may be hard to hear that's really not the case, Webb said.
In alarmingly un-Australian news, there is also the possibility your drinking habits are making you more susceptible to being bitten.
In 2002, a study published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association found that drinking beer does make you more attractive to the winged beasts, likely due to an increase in ethanol content in your sweat.
"With Australia Day approaching we certainly don't like to be reminded that drinking beer might make us more attractive to mosquitoes," Webb said.
"But I think the most important thing is that the more we drink, the more likely we are to forget to put on mosquito repellent."
How To Avoid The Inevitable
The best way to avoid mosquitoes, rather unsurprisingly, is to avoid the habitats they're most common in like bushland and wetlands around dawn and dusk, Webb said.
Should you need to be near a body of water at around 5pm however, the next best thing is good old fashioned insect repellent and protective clothing.
"Pick a product that you can find in the local supermarket or pharmacy, put it on as a nice even coat over all exposed areas of skin, that'll provide the longest lasting protection against mosquito bites."
Next to being bitten, lying in bed with a buzzing visitor flying in and out of earshot is arguably the worst thing.
If you find yourself in this level of hell, Webb recommends turning on a fan.
"It creates air movement, you're less attractive to mosquitoes and the mozzies might find it a bit hard to fly around your face as well," he said.
So write that down.