If you are planning to get a flu shot shortly, better stay in a happy mood. Researchers have found that being in a positive mood on the day of your flu jab can increase its protective effect.

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  • The study has implications for the elderly as flu vaccination is estimated to only be effective in 17-53 per cent of older adults.
  • Compared to 70-90 per cent of younger people.
  • Vaccinations are an incredibly effective way of reducing the likelihood of catching infectious diseases.
  • But their Achilles heel is that their ability to protect against disease is affected by how well an individual’s immune system works.
  • So people with less effective immune systems, such as the elderly, may find vaccines don’t work as well for them as they do in the young.


  • The team measured negative mood, positive mood, physical activity.
  • In addition,diet and sleep three times a week over a six week period in a group of 138 older people due to have their flu jab.
  • Then they examined how well the jab was working by measuring the amount of influenza antibody in the blood.
  • In addition,at four weeks and 16 weeks after the vaccination.
  • The results showed that positive mood over the six week observational period.
  • Predicted how well the jab worked — with good mood associated with higher levels of antibody.
  • In fact, when the researchers looked at influences on the day of vaccination itself.
  • They found an even greater effect on how well it worked.
  • Accounting for between eight and 14 per cent of the variability in antibody levels.
  • The findings confirm a long-held view that a number of psychological and behavioural factors.
  • Such as stress, physical activity and diet influence how well the immune system works.
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