Mayo Clinic researcher works to understand the flu - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mayo Clinic researcher works to understand the flu


One Mayo Clinic researcher is trying to understand the flu by looking at humidity levels.

Tyler Koep is monitoring humidity levels in schools to see if this has an impact on the virus' survival.

"The idea is that higher humidity might protect us from the flu. So, that might be an option we can use in the future to limit the spread of flu among people." Koep's  experiment called for placing more than 30 humidity censors around Lincoln Elementary and Kellogg Middle Schools in Rochester, Minnesota.

 With the help of students and science, Koep tracked and manipulated humidity levels throughout the building for two years..

"I think the cool thing is, they get to see themselves working with a scientist like Tyler and they can identify with Tyler," Science Teacher Corey Dornack said. "And I think they can see that maybe one day they can do the same type of stuff because they're a lot like they are."

The results of the experiment might have a positive effect on school attendance. "If we can find a way to lower the number of students with the flu by either humidity levels or other ideas, we're always willing to look at that. So, I think this study is very interesting," Koep said.

Koep still has a lot of data to collect and analyze. His busiest time being right now during winter, but according to the school's principal, Lincoln Elementary has seen a decrease in students out due to influenza.

Whether or not that has to do with the changing humidity levels, we have yet to see.

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