New study: How the flu spreads at schools

In a new study, researchers have figured out how the flu spreads from child to child at school.

(I can’t decide if this story is interesting or Duh!!? You decide.)

The Los Angeles Times reports:

“The latest science shows that flu predominantly spreads from boys to other boys and from girls to other girls. The study, conducted by a consortium of researchers that included experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found that flu transmission is more intensive within students sitting in the same class. But sitting next to someone with the flu doesn’t, in itself, increase one’s risk.”

“The scientists examined flu spread among 370 children, ages 6 to 18, during a major H1N1 flu outbreak in a rural Pennsylvania community. The goal was to look at how social networks control flu spread.”

“Children are about three times more likely to pass the flu to children of the same gender, the researchers found. That’s probably because boys tend to mix with boys and girls with girls. Transmission rates were five times higher between classmates compared with children in a different class but in the same grade. Children ages 6 to 10 had the highest infection rate, followed by children age 5 and younger.”

I think the fact that kids pass it to the same gender makes sense because Duh that’s who they play with. I also think that the kids 6 to 10 having the higher infection rate is also a no-brainer because they are in school with a bunch of kids.

However, the lead author of the study thinks it can really be useful:

“Tracking just how flu spreads, ‘could help us better understand whether and when it would be appropriate to close a school, or whether it might be better to close individual classes or grades,’ Dr. Simon Cauchemez, the lead author of the study and a researcher at Imperial College London, said in a news release. School closings are considered useful for controlling the spread of flu during a pandemic but create a fair amount of inconvenience and upheaval for school officials and families.”

So what do you think: Does this study surprise you or make perfect sense? Would you make any changes with your child and school based on this info if you heard the flu was spreading quickly through your school?

16 comments Add your comment


February 1st, 2011
12:17 pm

The study makes obvious sense. Would I make changes? You bet – just do some reading on the 1918 Flu Pandemic. Human Beings are overdue for a major wipe-out of some type; we take science for granted and think it would never happen to us in this day and age. Not with a Virus…. they mutate and evolve and one day will wipe out a huge percentage of Homo Sapiens. If it speads through the school quickly, we’re out of there well before they take action. The next Pandemic is going to be really, really nasty.


February 1st, 2011
12:30 pm

I vote DUH! Flu remains most widely spread by germs on the hand entering the system…most often through the eyes. Little girls hug each other, touch each others stuff etc….but boys have cooties! Little boys touch each others trucks and so forth….but girls have cooties! Then said hands probably do not get washed…and then they touch their faces/rub their eyes and POOF it spread.


February 1st, 2011
2:00 pm

This hits close to home. My daughter was complaining on Thursday when I picked her up from school of not “feeling right”. She never said she was sick, just felt strange. At 13, that could mean anything. When I picked her up on Friday she was full-on sick. By Sunday evening she had passed it on to me. Yesterday I was too delirious with fever to work. I came in for about 45 minutes and left. On the way home I panicked because all of a sudden for a few seconds I did not recognize where I was. (I was going the right way). It was not a good day. I went home doped myself up and slept until it was time to pick up my daughter. Today the fever is gone, but I am closed up in my office and have forewarned everyone to steer clear.

I am going to guess that since my daughter usually helps watching the Pre-K’rs – 3rd graders in the after school program, that she caught it from one of them.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 1st, 2011
2:30 pm

Cammi — that stinks — hope you’re all better soon!!


February 1st, 2011
2:46 pm

Speaking of illness, TWG, how’s your little guy doing? Better, I assume?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 1st, 2011
2:47 pm

it was the 3 year old — she;’s better — prednazone, albuterol and antibiotic will fix you right up! thanks for asking!


February 1st, 2011
2:54 pm

Albuterol rocks! It keeps FOREVER too, FYI. Hang on to any leftovers especially if you bought an Atomizer.


February 1st, 2011
2:56 pm

Oh, and this is kind of a duh.

About like saying that in teenagers Mononucleosis is spread between kids of different sexes….it all depends on who they’re associating with ;-).


February 1st, 2011
3:28 pm

1) Stay home when sick. This includes keeping the little ones at home when they are sick. Some people just think the world will stop if they stay home one freaking day to take care of themselves. Missing one day of school is ok. The healthy kids will thank you. Missing one day of work is ok. Your healthy co-workers will thank you.

2) wash, wash, wash your hands all the time…..use hand sanitizer in the car. Use this after shopping in ANY store as soon as you get into the car.

3) stay away from sick people.

4) Get a flu shot if you are hyper-paranoid. I have not had a flu shot since 1993 (17 years ago), and I have NEVER had the flu.

5) Take multi-vitamins, Vitamin C, and get plenty of FRESH AIR and rest. Drink plenty of fluids and hydrate yourself.

6) IF you feel the flu or any other virus coming on, immediately get into your pjs and on the couch, with a huge mug of hot tea and honey. Stay home. Rest. Drink plenty of fluids.

7) Keep Kleenex stocked. Blowing your nose with toilet paper or paper towels is very painful. Kleenex is NOT very expensive. Also Blistex is great for preventing cold sores.

9) BLOW YOUR NOSE. Quit sucking the mucas back up into your sinuses….Get it out!!!!!

9) STAY AWAY from the sick people who can’t stand to miss a day of work and come in to the office and infect EVERYONE!!!

Why is this not common knowledge? Why do we have to have a study on how the flu travels.

One big D U H!!!!!


February 1st, 2011
4:36 pm

JJ, while I appreciate the “stay home” comment for what it was worth, you have to realize that for some it is simply not. an. option. I don’t hesitate to keep my kids from school, because I work for myself and mostly for home. But I DO know that for some parents, this isn’t possible!

We keep kids home from school and use up OUR sick days from work. Then what happens when WE get sick? We have none left, we have been absent too many times, our bosses start looking at us with that “she’s unreliable” look, and next thing you know, you are mommy tracked. You don’t get the choice assignments, you get passed over for promotions, etc.

I am NOT saying this is right. IT IS NOT. But for sure it is the way it is.

Nutrition matter

February 1st, 2011
4:54 pm

What they fail to mention is that Vitamin D has been shown to be way more effective than the worthless flu vaccines and that most kids are Vit. D deficient, or certainly at lower levels than is needed for a healthy immune system. Get your kids outdoors, don’t damage their immune systems with the worthless vaccine, stop covering them with damaging sunscreen, and if you are any darker than vanilla ice cream, take supplemental D (5000-10000 units) per day during the winter because the darker your skin the less vit. D you make in the sun and during winter blacks make virtually no Vit. D. Any shock that the same organisms that are present all year long find a nice home during winter. Another big duh moment.


February 1st, 2011
6:52 pm

I read the blog. Well, I think I read the blog as I have a horrible case of the flu. Well, I think it’s the flu. I’m the only one in my family who has it, my chest hurts, my head really hurts (I mean really hurts) and I have to concentrate really hard to read or the words go all fuzzy.

I also wish parents of kids with the flu would keep them at home. I know that it would be hard for some but several years ago I got the flu (well thats what the docs said caused it) and it invaded the sack around my heart (pericarditis) and I was on bedrest for a long time. Sometimes the flu virus doesn’t stay where it is suppose to and goes on trip around the body.


February 1st, 2011
6:54 pm

Don’t buy the hype guys. A few years ago, everyone needed copius amounts of Vitamin C and E. Both rumors were debunked. The Vitamin d’jour is D.

Below is a link to a report from the Institute of Medicine reccomended allotment of Vitamin D and Calcium. The IOM just published the new reccomendations two months ago.

There is a handy chart included in the report that shows a sliding scale of necessary calcium intake by age group. You’ll notice that the right side of the chart doesn’t move. It’s a consistent 600 units per day of Vitamin D.

Also, the second page of the report concludes that Vitamin D is helpful for bone health but little else. It also reports that any intake above 4,000 international units can be harmful.


February 1st, 2011
9:40 pm

i agree that people who are sick should stay home. unfortunately my place of work does not agree with that. sickness is not an excused absence. seriously. and iwork in a place where everyone who has to pick thier sick kids up from school come to shop. (god please let me find a new job soon!!!!) i am on the verge of getting fired because of absences. 2 of them i was sick-throwing up- and 1 was bcause my car broke down. neither were excused. i even rented a car as soon as i could-car broke on sunday so it was monday before i could-anyway—
in a perfect world people could stay home and get well. we do not live in a perfect world. there are so many older people who work where i do and i really worry about them when sickness starts spreading-which is very often there. they come to work so sick they can barely move…it is a real shame. people saying people need to stay home when they are sick is a sore point with me-i agree but some just cant

on topic-sorry- kids get sick from other kids they play with-of course this article makes sense. everyone gets sick from the people they interact with. i get sick from co-workers and snotty nosed kids and adults who cough and hack and say oh sorry im so sick. its all i can do not to say well go the he11 home and stay away from me!!! and take your sick kid home and put them to bed! thats the DUH! part. (sorry im so bitchy ssounding-i am just getting over a terrible virus that attacked every part of my body throughout the last week–still had to go to work anyway–@cammi-what you have sounds like what i just had—sure hope you can rest and get well soon!


February 2nd, 2011
8:40 am

I guess I have been spoiled by my employer. Since we are a small company (only 10 of us here), and we have all been here for so long (The “new guy” has been here 9 years), if you are sick, they tell you to stay home. We are given 10 sick days a year.

However, I truly believe that staying home prevents the further spreading of germs.


February 2nd, 2011
11:04 am

Do creationists get flu vaccines? If so, why?