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Why Mosquitoes Love Runners So Much

There’s a scientific reason you get bitten more than sedentary folks do.

If you’re anything like us, mosquitos love you. You could be sitting by the pool with a few of your friends, and by the time you all go inside, you’re scratching away at your skin while everyone else managed to escape unscathed. So what’s the deal?

It’s not just in your head: There is a reason why you attract mosquitoes more than others—you’re a runner. But don’t panic. That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of itchy, welt-covered skin every summer.

There are things you can do to limit the amount of bites you get, or make the ones you do get feel a little better. Here, we tapped Jonathan Day, Ph.D., a mosquito researcher and professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida and Daniel M. Pastula, M.D., M.H.S., associate professor of neurology, infectious diseases, and epidemiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colorado, to find out why you get bitten so damn much—and what you can do about it.

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?

The itching and swelling that accompanies a bite occurs when your immune system responds to something it doesn’t recognize.

“When a mosquito bites, the first thing it does is produce a little bit of its saliva, which contains proteins that your immune system sees as a foreign body, and mounts an immediate response to attack those proteins,” Day said. “That response tends to involve histamine that attacks those proteins, and that causes swelling, redness, and itching at the site.”

Find yourself running with the mosquitoes? Continue reading Danielle Zickl's article here.

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October 28, 2023

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