-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A hand hygiene and cough
etiquette program for elementary school children reduced cases of
flu and the number of absences, a new study says.
The study included five Pittsburgh schools that received the
training program and five schools that received no special hygiene
training. Lessons taught to the children in the five-step "WHACK
the Flu" program were:
During the academic year, schools that received the training
program had 52 percent fewer confirmed illnesses caused by
influenza A and 26 percent fewer student absences. However, there
was no decrease in the number of illnesses caused by influenza
It's not clear why there was no decrease in influenza B, but the
University of Pittsburgh researchers suggested it may be because of
"basic differences in the biology or epidemiology" of influenza B,
or because influenza B occurred later in the flu season and mainly
in younger children.
The study, published in the November issue of the
Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, also found that the flu program was successful in getting students to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer regularly, an average of 2.4 times per day.
"Respiratory hygiene education and the regular use of hand sanitizer can be an important adjunct to influenza vaccination programs to reduce the number of influenza A infections among children," Dr. Samuel Stebbins and colleagues wrote in a journal news release.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
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