With nine probable swine flu cases now reported in Illinois, including one that led to the closing of an elementary school in Rogers Park, School District 65 officials in Evanston have issued an advisory to parents.

While no cases have been reported in Evanston, Superintendent Hardy Murphy says the schools are following routine procedures for reporting and preventing the spread of infectious disease.

Murphy says, preventive measures are most effective in helping to reduce the spread of disease. Tips for staying healthy include:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand-cleaners are also effective. (Instant waterless hand sanitizing gel dispensers are available classrooms and throughout all schools in the District.)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Influenza is believed to be spread mainly from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

Murphy says that parents who suspect their child has the flu should keep the youngster home from school and contact a health care provider. Symptoms of swine flu are similar to other flu symptoms. They include fever, sore throat, headache, cough, body aches, chills and fatigue.

The District 65 Health Services Office will continue to work closely with the Evanston Health Department. More information about swine flu is available online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state health department reports all the swine flu cases reported so far in Illinois have been mild.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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