Adding humidity to classrooms may help reduce illness among students. That was the finding from a recent study by a Mayo Clinic researcher.

The research by Jennifer Reiman, Ph.D., of Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic, Integrated Science Education Outreach, and humidification HVAC equipment maker DriSteem Corp., found that adding steam-based humidification to classrooms reduced the amount of influenza virus in the spaces.

“This is really exciting data, because we see that, in the humidified room, we're reducing the amount of flu that we see in the air, which is the main way that flu is transmitted, and also on surfaces, the secondary route,” Reiman said.

The researchers noted that absenteeism among students or staff can lead to lower student achievement on tests. Reducing the flu virus on the classroom surfaces may help reduce sick days, the researchers said.

The full study results are here