October 5, 2009 | Diane Johnson | Leave a comment During the last year few schools were closed. Although much of the fear is gone, swine flu still continues to strike. In the past month since school started there have been over 187 school dismissals across the country and over 79,678 students have been affected. Government officials expect that closing schools and day care centers because of swine flu could cost between $10 billion and $47 billion. Obviously, the severity of the flu and the duration that schools remain closed, accounts for the stark difference between the dollar amounts. Plus these are conservative estimates. The government has urged schools to close only as a last resort. This means that they should only close when large numbers of students or teachers become ill with H1N1. If schools closed that would not only affect students but also parents. Many parents would have to miss work in order to care for their children. Just closing schools in Washington D.C., would cost $65 million while Los Angeles County would cost $1.1 billion. School closures are a big deal, especially because school closures would affect both children and adults. So if parents have a child that's ill then they have to stay home and many parents work in health care fields. So hospital staff would also be hurt. They would have more cases of swine flu coming in and fewer workers. Doctors have recommended 5 suggestions that may help you stay safe from H1N1. 1. Wash/Sanitize Your Hands Constantly wash you hands. There are germs all around so make sure that you are washing or using hand sanitizer frequently. 2. Stay Home Stay home when you have any flu-like symptoms. Don't go to school or work, otherwise you're just passing them and infecting more people. 3. Contain Your Cough Cough or sneeze inside your shirt, in a hankie, or in the crook of your arm. This makes it harder to transfer germs. Swine flu is unfortunately very contagious, so be careful and try to keep it to yourself. 4. Avoid Crowds Avoid small cramped quarters with lots of people. The more people you're around and the closer the proximity; the more likely you are to get swine flu. 5. Visit a Doctor If you think you have swine flu get to the doctor immediately. The symptoms include high fever, body aches, and coughing. Get to a doctor if you think you've contracted the virus because certain types of medicines are effective against some strains of swine flu if taken within 36 hours of infection. Hopefully the Swine Flu won't get out of control and everyone can continue their daily activities. Even though there are vaccines for H1N1 many parents are choosing not to have their children vaccinated. The vaccine has not been out long and Americans worry about it’s safety. As a result, millions of children, teenagers, adults, babies, and even older Americans may get the virus. This virus will not only cause everyone to get sick but also cost the economy billions of dollars in lost wages and time.