Life Advice



Ask Amy: New mother-in-law wants DIL to love her

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Your DIL needs to be able to trust that you won't overreact or transfigure her dramas into yours. This requires that you both learn to behave differently.

Dear Amy: Is there an acceptable way to ask people on the plane or in a waiting room if they are contagious?

I'm not sure what I'd do if they said "yes," but perhaps they would make more of an effort to cover up their coughs -- or use cough drops!

-- Rather Not Get Sick

Dear Rather Not: As of this writing, the coronavirus, which originated in China, is spreading.

Children are (quite appropriately) taught to cough and sneeze into their elbows. This technique is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( The CDC also recommends coughing into a tissue and then throwing the tissue away.

If you are in a physician's waiting room, you should assume that someone near you who is coughing is contagious.

This is from the CDC website: "Cough etiquette is especially important for infection control measures in healthcare settings, such as emergency departments, doctor's offices, and clinics."

A polite way to remind someone to cover their cough would be to say, "It seems that you are sick. Would you mind covering your cough?"


Dear Amy: In a previous column, you recommended "relocating" a trio of squirrels that were tormenting a new homeowner.

In many states, it is illegal to relocate wild animals. The squirrels were there before the homeowner. They get first dibs.

-- Squirrel Lover

Dear Lover: Thank you. These squirrels were being fed by a neighbor. The U.S. Department of Agriculture strongly discourages feeding wild animals.

If these neighbors didn't feed the squirrels, they might relocate themselves.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)



blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections


Signe Wilkinson Archie Curtis Steve Breen Rudy Park The Barn