“What if there were mosquitoes that bit you, but it like didn’t hurt or itch and they actually like injected you with like vitamins or some elixir that neutralized the itchiness of regular mosquito bites?”
This was the paraphrased, censored conversation among a group of friends at a recent Friday-night bonfire hangout.
“It’d be like playing Russian roulette. Like, should I let a mosquito bite me because it’s helping me or kill it because it’s giving me malaria?”
Outside this fantasy world where mosquitoes have redeeming qualities, the summertime risk of getting bit by mosquitoes is like real-life Russian roulette for dermatillomania sufferers because bites are triggers for skin-picking episodes.
In a recent Picking Me Foundation Instagram poll, 83 percent of respondents said that mosquito bites are triggers for picking. It’s July and we’re right in the middle of mosquito season, so there’s no better time for some helpful tips on how dermatillomania sufferers can outsmart the mosquitoes and make it through the rest of the summer as comfortably as possible.
- Mosquitoes are drawn to type O blood. While we don’t recommend taking steps to change your blood type (which is actually possible) , being aware of whether your blood type makes you more susceptible to mosquito attacks is important.
- Beer is a mosquito attractant because it raises people’s body temperatures causing them to sweat. Additionally, the carbon dioxide that fizzles out of a popped beer bottle is another mosquito attractant. Opting for other alcoholic beverages or avoiding alcoholic beverages altogether can help dermatillomania sufferers avoid becoming tasty treats for mosquitoes in the summer.
- It seems counterintuitive, but avoiding wearing dark clothes can help you hide from mosquitoes. The pesky critters can see dark clothes outlined against the horizon easier than lighter clothing and then can launch their airborne attacks.
- Water is required for mosquito eggs to hatch, so any swamp, marsh, or other place with standing water becomes a mosquito hotbed. Avoid whenever possible.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to sweaty or wet skin or clothing. Immediately take a shower and dry off completely after exercising. Avoid strenuous activities if at all possible during dawn, dusk, and nighttime hours when mosquitoes are most active.
- According to LiveScience.com, mosquito sprays should contain at least one of three active ingredients: synthetic chemicals (namely deet which is generally safe to use contrary to popular opinion), picaridin, or plant-derived chemicals such as oil or lemon eucalyptus.
- Bug spray should be waterproof and last at least 60 minutes per application. The short shelf life of an application means it’s important to reapply frequently if you are going to be outside for an extended period of time.
- Mosquitoes do not like wind because they are too small and frail to maneuver around in it. Therefore, fans can be an effective prevention method against mosquitoes.
- Citronella candles are a popular method to keep bugs away. However, there’s no scientific evidence proving they actually works.
- Having a good-size mosquito spray to make sure you always have a source of protection when you need it and a supply of Band-Aids on you at all times in case you get bit are great proactive measures.
- Post-bite soothing options include calamine lotion, Band-Aids to reduce the urge to pick, oatmeal baths, cold chamomile tea bag compress, Aloe, and ice cubes.
- As with anything you are applying to the skin, try to create a barrier between the skin and your hand to avoid skin-to-skin contact. Barriers could include applying treatments with tissues, cloths, and Q-tips among many other things.
- If you do have a picking episode and it bleeds and scabs over, keep the area moist with a salve.