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with Rod Moser, PA, PhD

Stories from behind the examining room door, as told by Rod Moser, PA, a primary care physician assistant with more than 35 years of clinical experience.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Hate Mosquitoes!

Sometimes, I think that I am a human mosquito magnet. I could be in crowd of a thousand people, and I would be the only one that is getting bit.

I worked out in the yard today, and I was bitten so many times that it is even difficult to write this Blog while scratching my welts. I use some top-of-the-line, jungle-quality DEET, but somehow, the mosquitoes find the one spot that I missed. I wear bland-colored, long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks, and a hat. I don’t wear deodorant or cologne when I am working outside. I have an impenetrable beard and wear glasses.

I sound pretty, huh? They still get me…fleas and ants, too. I must excrete some powerful insect-attracting pheromones.

I read that mosquitoes bite people if they eat bananas, so I have given up my favorite, potassium-laden fruit. I take a multiple vitamin that is high in vitamin B, thought to be distasteful to mosquitoes.

I bought one of those electronic mosquito repellents that emit a high-pitched whine; and I have even worn TWO of them. It didn’t help.

I have used Avon Skin So Soft, another purported repellent, but alas, this was not helpful (My skin did get soft, however, making it even more desirable for my biting nemeses). So far, my best defense is to just wait until the land and then slap ‘em to death.

Since I also have tinnitus, I think I always hear them buzzing around me. My neighbors, seeing this constant waving and slapping, must think I have a serious mental disorder. One pair of breeding mosquitoes can have up to 3,000 offspring, so I take pleasure in knowing that each mother mosquito that I kill (only the females bite), I take out a thousand or so of the kids.

Several years ago, we were visiting some friends in northern Minnesota, the home of some of the biggest, meanest mosquitoes on Earth. Since we were sleeping out near the lake, I planned on using some industrial strength DEET.

I completely covered my body (so I thought), and the next day, I had multiple bites on my eyelids! Short of having several trained bats sitting on my shoulder at all times, I am at a loss to find a solution. As a matter of fact, I built a bat house in order to encourage these voracious mosquito eaters.

Mosquitoes also bite more during a full moon. I don’t like to go outside during a full moon because of my bats. I am not sure one isn’t going to turn into Dracula. If mosquitoes love my blood, I am sure going to attract Dracula.

I have scoured the area for standing water (none), and I do use mosquito chemicals in the fountains. The most logical source of these pests may be a small lake located less than a mile away.

According to mosquito experts, these insects can travel this far…especially if they smell ME. Mosquitoes are attracted to heat, lactic acid, and exhaled carbon dioxide, but there is nothing I can do about that. They would probably bite me if I was dead.

Mosquitoes are the most dangerous insect in the world. They kill more people than any other creature on this planet.

Mosquito-borne illness, such as malaria kills millions of people every year, mostly in Africa. Mosquitoes cause encephalitis, including West Nile. They carry yellow fever, dengue fever, and even heart worm that could hurt my dogs. Both of my Shelties take heart worm preventatives. Mosquitoes do not carry HIV.

As soon as the weather in this area hits a consistent 100 degrees and the mosquito population wanes, I will need to stay in the house early in the morning and at about 4 PM, the time they seem to start tracking me down. Fortunately, California is usually dry. Mosquitoes bite more in humid weather.

For the twelve or thirteen bites that I have right now, I am rubbing in some hydrocortisone cream and taking an antihistamine for the itching. And yes, I am strategically scratching them from time to time. It just feels good.

I am not a big fan of bug-zappers since they seem to catch more beneficial insects than mosquitoes. I do have two of them (different types) that I have tried. The only thing that I have not tried is those thousand dollar commercial mosquito machines that hook to a propane tank. Mosquitos dislike citronella (we have a lot of those things), but so do I.

Although I know that DEET is safe, I still don’t like the smell. DEET is the most effective mosquito repellent out there, and you can even use it on children over the age of two months. Consumer Reports listed some of the best ones in an issue earlier this year. I bought the ones that were highly recommended, so I will let you know.

I seemed to be getting a headache. Damn, I bet it is encephalitis!

Related Topics:

Links to Information about Mosquito and Mosquito-Borne Disease

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Technorati Tags: mosquito, mosquito bite, DEET, mosquito repellent, west nile, malaria

Posted by: Rod Moser, PA, PhD at 7:39 am

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