Stress. We often hear about how bad it is. Stress can harm your body and mind, and can lead to many different illnesses. Interestingly however, scientists are learning that stress might actually protect you from the world’s deadliest animal: the mosquito.
Did you know that the mosquito kills more people every year than any other animal on earth? This is because mosquitoes carry the disease malaria, which kills close to 3 million people each year, many of them children.
Anyway, nobody likes mosquito bites. And in order to protect ourselves, we cover our skin with nasty chemicals – like DEET – to keep those mosquitoes away. Some of those chemicals are actually quite harmful to the human body as well.
But now, scientists are discovering that when we are stressed, our skin releases a natural chemical – a hormone – that repels mosquitoes. That’s right, the skin of people with stress actually smells bad to mosquitoes, and therefore keeps them away! So, scientists are now trying reproduce that hormone in the lab, so that they can develop a safer, more natural mosquito repellant.
So the next time you are at a summer barbeque with your friends and family, pay attention to who doesn’t get bitten by mosquitoes. It might actually be the most stressed out person of all!