By Rosemary Donahue. Photo by: Getty Images.
Summer is a lovely season, but it does have its downsides. One of the worst things about summer, aside from terrible sunburns (wear proper sunscreen!), is all the bug bites you may get from outdoor exploration. While some folks manage to escape the warmer months relatively unscathed — err, unbitten — others aren't quite so lucky. But why is that? Well, we finally have some answers, thanks to Refinery29.
Apparently, it all comes down to genetics. Your likelihood of getting bitten comes down to the level of carbon dioxide in your body and the way your skin smells. While no one is completely immune to mosquito bites, these factors make some more prone to bites than others — and along those lines, some folks have worse reactions to the bites, as well. Shari Lipner, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine talked to Refinery29 and said that when a mosquito bites you, they inject their saliva into your skin. She said, "The saliva contains proteins or allergens that cause the itching, swelling, and redness in most people."
While some folks simply experience a small red bump, others are more allergic to the saliva of mosquitos and can end up with large welts or even experience shortness of breath and anaphylaxis. If that happens, you should seek medical attention immediately. Dermatologist Heather Rogers told Refinery29 that no matter how bad the reaction and how intense the urge, scratching mosquito bites is a no-no, as it "can make the bites itchier and create scarring, which can lead to pigmentation changes or the formation of a permanent bump." Instead, treating them with hydrocortisone cream or taking antihistamines is advised.
If you're one of the unlucky people who find that your reaction to mosquito bites is worse than others, be proactive when heading out during the summer months. Use an EPA-registered bug spray to prevent a nasty situation before it starts.
This story originally appeared on Allure.
More from Allure: