First, don't panic. The mosquitoes that carry Zika haven't been found in Rhode Island. Yet. I say "yet" because it's a possibility they could arrive some day. Also, if there's someone in the area with Zika who gets bitten by a mosquito, that mosquito could conceivably (although the chances are low) bite you. Even though the odds of catching Zika here are low, the odds of catching other mosquito-borne illnesses (like West Nile) are higher, so it's wise to protect yourself and your children from being bitten. Here's how (see this CDC page for more details):
- Where long sleeves and pants whenever possible
- Use mosquito repellants with EPA-registered ingredients to make sure they're effective. Those include: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol.
- Don't use repellant on babies younger than two months, and don't use repellant containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on kids younger than three years old.
And don't forget: tick season is upon us. To prevent tick bites, wear long pants. And treat your clothing with permethrin. Don't spray that directly on skin; it's just for clothing. But it should last through a few washes.
Wondering about the safety of beaches? Check here for news of beach closures due to high bacteria counts. Remember those counts are often higher after it rains.
Plan to fire up the coals? Watch out for those squeaky clean grills. If they've been scrubbed with a wire brush, some of those bristles could end up stuck to food, and your innards.
Remember to stay hydrated, designate a driver, and never, ever mix alcohol with drugs like painkillers. That can lead to a fatal overdose. In fact, just to be on the safe side, why not go to the pharmacy and pick up a Narcan (otherwise known as naloxone) kit, the overdose reversal drug, and add it to your first aid kit. Walgreens and CVS drug stores stock it; you don't need a prescription.
And finally, let's not forget your mental health. Spending time with family can be relaxing and fun, but it can also be stressful. Here's a scientific review of the best mindfulness meditation apps out there.