Think happy thoughts! It’s time for your flu shot

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Plan­ning on get­ting a flu shot this year? Bet­ter put on a happy face. Ac­cord­ing to re­search by a team of health ex­perts from the Univer­sity of Not­ting­ham in Eng­land, be­ing in a pos­i­tive mood when you get your flu shot can in­crease its pro­tec­tive ef­fects. The re­search team set out to de­ter­mine what psy­cho­log­i­cal and be­hav­ioral fac­tors af­fect vac­ci­na­tions in the hopes of bet­ter un­der­stand­ing what fac­tors had the great­est im­pact on the vac­cine in pre­vent­ing dis­ease.

The team looked at neg­a­tive and pos­i­tive moods, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, diet and sleep three times a week for six weeks in a group of 138 older peo­ple due for a flu shot. When the amount of in­fluenza an­ti­bod­ies in the test sub­jects’ blood was mea­sured four weeks and 16 weeks post-vac­ci­na­tion, the re­searchers found that only pos­i­tive mood seemed to im­pact vac­cine ef­fec­tive­ness. The study was pub­lished in Brain, Be­hav­ior and Im­mu­nity and funded by the U.K.’s Na­tional Health Ser­vice and Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil.

“We have known for many years that a num­ber of psy­cho­log­i­cal and be­hav­ioral fac­tors such as stress, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and diet in­flu­ence how well the im­mune sys­tem works, and these fac­tors have also been shown to in­flu­ence how well vac­cines pro­tect against dis­ease,” pro­fes­sor Kavita Ved­hara of the univer­sity’s pri­mary-care di­vi­sion said in a news re­lease.

A good mood could give your flu shot a boost.

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