The Chicago Department of Public Health reports that a student at Kilmer Elementary School, 6700 N. Greenview, has been diagnosed with a case of swine influenza. Attendance records also indicate a slightly higher than average absentee rate at the school in the last few days.
As a precaution, the Health Department advised the Chicago Board of Education to close the school for at least 48 hours while health officials survey parents and guardians to determine if the swine flu diagnosis is simply an isolated case or whether it is more widespread. Schools officials and my office are working closely with the Health Department. Once health officials determine it appropriate to re-open the school, parents and guardians will be notified. I will also notify you via e-mail.
It is important to note that the building itself is perfectly safe. The school is closed only as a precaution against the potential spead of the virus among children and staff.
Spread of swine flu occurs primarily through contact with a person with swine flu and is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
If you suspect your child may have the flu, please contact a health care provider. A list of health care providers may be obtained by calling 311.
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and may include the following:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Chills and fatigue
No vaccines are available right now to protect against swine flu, but you can take everyday actions that will help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
- 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 often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick with influenza, stay home and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
If you have any further questions or concerns please contact Kilmer School at 773-534-2115 or the Board of Education’s Office of Specialized Services at 773-553-1800.
For more information on swine flu, including answers to frequently asked questions, CLICK HERE.
For a national perspective on swine flu, visit the web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention atwww.cdc.gov/swineflu.
I will continue to keep you advised as I receive more information.