Mosquitos love me. I\u2019ve been to many outdoor gatherings where I was the only one bitten. The little buggers often seem to completely ignore everyone but me. If I stop on the side of the road for a couple of minutes while on my bicycle in a place like Bear Mountain State Park, I inevitably end up with a couple of mosquito bites while my cycling cohorts remain bite free. The most mosquitos in one place at one time I\u2019ve ever experienced was at a wooded campsite in the Altai region of Russia (known forever afterward as the \u201cmosquito camp\u201d) during my months-long cycling trip across Central Asia. We set up our tents in a seemingly peaceful forested enclave accessed via a dirt road. Within a few minutes of our arrival, swarms of mosquitoes circled from the brush. Before we could adequately dose ourselves with bug spray, most of us had been bitten multiple times (me, twice as many as everyone else). Why do mosquito bites itch? My body reacts very strongly to mosquito bites with pretty intense swelling and soreness. It always has. Mosquitos possess a protein in their saliva that prevents human blood vessels from clotting so they can drink your blood quickly. After they\u2019re done eating, some of the saliva-based proteins are left behind which your immune system interprets as a threat and attacks with histamine. Histamine, an immune chemical, is what\u2019s responsible for the itching and swelling. Different types of mosquitoes can produce different reactions; that\u2019s why some bites swell and itch more than others. If you\u2019re routinely bitten by the same type of mosquito, it\u2019s possible your immune system may figure out that you\u2019re not going to die from that particular kind of bite, and therefore there\u2019s no need to send in calvary. My immune system, though, seems to always operate under the guise of \u201cthis just might be the one that does us in'' and comes charging in like gangbusters almost every time. I suppose that\u2019s better than the opposite. How to get rid of mosquito bites The bites will, of course, go away on their own in a few days but why endure the itchiness for any longer than you have to? Here are all the various ways to get rid of mosquito bites as quickly as possible. Apply a hydrocortisone cream I keep a tube of hydrocortisone cream in my bathroom cabinet and both my travel and bike first aid kits. It works for insect bites, skin rashes, and even offers relief from some eczema symptoms. For mosquito bites, I usually lather on a couple of layers. While it has been shown to relieve itching, its main purpose as a topical anti-inflammatory is to control the swelling and heat of a bite. Clean the area with rubbing alcohol Rubbing alcohol helps to clean away the pesky mosquito saliva proteins that your immune system is reacting to. This is the remedy I use the most often as I find it to be the most immediately effective \u2013 often acting quicker than calamine lotion for me. I try to remember to carry some individual alcohol wipes when camping and hiking in case my mosquito prevention measures fail.\u00a0 Lather yourself in calamine lotion This is the mosquito bite remedy I use the least often, though I think that\u2019s because my mom never used it so I often forget that it\u2019s a pretty effective way of dealing with mosquito bites. The downsides are that it does have a pink hue and you need to keep reapplying to keep the itch from coming back. If you have multiple bites, slathering them all with pink goo might be a bit unsightly \u2013 but still better than uncontrollable scratching. Take an oral antihistamine If you\u2019re having an intense reaction and topical creams aren\u2019t helping much, consider an oral antihistamine or over-the-counter allergy medicine like Benadryl or Claritin. This is a great choice if you\u2019ve been attacked by a hungry swarm of mosquitos while on a trip across Central Asia and just want a good night\u2019s sleep in your (mosquito-free) tent. Most of these drugs provide relief for twelve to 24 hours. Try a mixture of baking soda and water for mosquito bites If you have none of the above creams or drugs around, mix some baking soda and water into a paste and apply it to your bites. In most cases, it will relieve a good deal of the itching. You can also take a soothing bath with a quarter cup of baking soda added to manage any inflammation and subdue the itching. Apply an ice pack If you lack creams, drugs, and baking soda, an ice pack or any frozen\/cold thing applied to the bite will give you relief from the itchiness. It won\u2019t do anything to remove the saliva proteins though so as soon as you remove the source of the cold, you\u2019ll start to itch again but it\u2019s a helpful, temporary solution if you feel as if you\u2019re going insane. And it does help reduce any swelling. If you\u2019re like me and are especially desirable to mosquitoes, you\u2019ll probably end up with a few bites no matter what you do when camping or hiking. Bringing some (or all) of these remedies along will soothe the itchiness and help your bites heal faster so you can enjoy the outdoors without stopping every two seconds to scratch.