Protect Your Family Against Swine Flu

As North Shore families gear up for back to school, you’re thinking about shopping for school supplies and clothing, college applications, prepping for the ACT/SAT … and getting that last-minute family vacation squeezed in.

The last thing you’re probably thinking about is swine flu.

But, as kids go back to school—and get more exposure to germs—it’s a hot topic worth revisiting.

Mibs got the following tips and precautions for protecting your family from Dr. Mary MacGregor of St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, an infectious disease expert, and Joel Africk, executive director of the Respiratory Health Association of Greater Metropolitan Chicago and a Wilmette resident. …


  • Don’t panic and call your doctor to ask for antiviral drugs. Most of the cases of swine flu in the U.S. have been mild.
  • Practice good basic hygiene, and talk about it with your kids over the dinner table. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and put hand sanitizers in gathering area.
  • Put some alcohol wipes by the phone that everyone uses in the kitchen, and use them to keep it clean.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If your kids do get sick, keep them home from school. If you get sick, stay home, too, to prevent the illness from spreading. If you or someone in your family develops symptoms of swine flu (which are similar to normal flu symptoms), see a doctor.
  • There is no need for the general public to wear masks. In some cases, masks may be recommended for health care workers and people (including family members) who come in close contact with swine flu patients.

For more information about swine flu, visit these sites (the first three were recommended by Julie Schaffner, chief operating officer and chief nurse executive at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital):