School and Sneeze and Sniffle Season Are Both in Session

By Mark Rundle Market Development Manager, GOJO Industries
Jan 31, 2017 10:05 AM ET

It’s the end of January and students and teachers have all settled in following winter break. And, not only are they bringing home with them new lessons and memories, they are all bringing along some winter germs. Yes, school is back in session, but sneeze and sniffle season is too.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity is currently rising across the United States.[1] In fact, flu activity typically peaks between December and February,[2] which means we are right in the middle of winter-germ season. So what can teachers, students and parents do to stay healthy?

The CDC recommends getting a flu shot as the first step we should all take to reduce our chances of coming down with the flu. The agency also recommends taking everyday preventive measures, like practicing good hand hygiene and disinfecting and cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects.

Hand Hygiene – An Important Step in Flu Prevention

Hand hygiene is one of the most important preventive measures we can all take to help us stay healthy and well. Practicing good hand hygiene, which includes either handwashing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, like PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer, when soap and water are not available, is an important component to helping us stay healthy. In fact, one study showed that when a comprehensive hand hygiene program, which included hand hygiene education and PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, absenteeism rates were reduced by 50 percent in schools.[3]

It is important to either wash or sanitize your hands at key moments throughout the day. Yet with all of the demands of the busy school day, it isn’t easy to achieve. So what are those key hand hygiene moments? They are:

  • After using the bathroom
  • Before and after eating
  • After riding the school bus
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • After shaking hands or giving high fives

Clean and Disinfect Surfaces

From doorknobs, to the water fountain toggle, to gym equipment, to shared classroom electronics, germs that can cause illness are easily transferred from one person to the next via the surfaces and objects we touch. This is why it is important to clean and disinfect both hard and soft surfaces, including desks and cafeteria tables, frequently as well as objects such computer keyboards and shared toys.

With an estimated 22 million lost school days each year due to illness alone[4], it is important to keep everyone – students and teachers - healthy and in the classroom, and taking some simple measures can help accomplish just that.

Learn more about our hand hygiene and surface disinfecting and cleaning solutions at

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza (Flu). Retrieved January 10, 2017, from

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Flu Season. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from

[3] Ginan, McGuckin, M., and Ali, Y., 2002. “The effect of a comprehensive handwashing program on absenteeism in elementary schools.” American Journal of Infection Control 30: 217-220

[4] CDC. Vital Health and Statistics. Current Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 1996. Retrieved August 19, 2014 from