The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) continues to recommend that school administrators and town officials throughout the state employ "smart scheduling" of all outdoor activities, including games and practices for all sports, in response to the threat of mosquito-borne illness. On September 14, HEALTH recommended that any games and practices scheduled to occur during early morning or dusk hours be rescheduled to earlier in the afternoon (or relocated to an indoor venue), if possible, to help minimize the risk of mosquito bites for players, coaches and spectators. This recommendation is made in collaboration with the state Mosquito Advisory Board and is still in effect.
"The threat of mosquito-borne illness lingers until the first hard frost," said Michael Fine, MD, director of HEALTH. "I encourage all Rhode Islanders to continue to take measures to protect themselves and their children from mosquito bites."
At a minimum, HEALTH recommends that schools and organizations remind all participants in outdoor activities to protect themselves from mosquito bites with some simple personal protection, including: • Avoid outdoor activities during dawn and dusk. Mosquitoes are most active at this time. • If you must be outside at dawn or dusk, wear an insect repellant with no more than 30 percent DEET. • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when possible to avoid exposing skin to mosquitoes.
HEALTH will continue to update school and municipal officials as conditions change. HEALTH recommends that smart scheduling stays in effect for the remainder of the mosquito season, which typically ends mid-October (after the first hard frost).
Visit www.health.ri.gov/disease/carriers/mosquitoes/ for additional information about mosquito bite protection.