Pittsburgh elementary schools using a program promoting respiratory hygiene saw a decrease in cases of influenza A and in overall student absences.
Students in five schools received the specialized hygiene training through a program called WHACK the Flu. Five other schools offered no such training.
Over the 11-month study period, researchers found that students in the program schools used hand sanitizer regularly—about 2.4 times per day—and saw a 52 percent decrease in cases of influenza A and a 26 percent reduction in absences. There was no significant difference in the overall rate of flu or of influenza B.
The study was published last month in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.
A version of this article appeared in the December 07, 2011 edition of Education Week as Flu Prevention