The Flu Shot: Tell a Joke Before They Poke?

flu shot

Flu season is underway. But did you know that the flu vaccine is only about 17 to 53 percent effective in older adults?  Since you’ll be going through the trouble of getting a shot, isn’t it important for it to actually work? Well, now there’s evidence of how you can make the flu shot work better for you and it may be as easy as telling your favorite joke right before you walk into the doctor’s office.

Flu Shot Study: Why Your Flu Shot Can Use a Little Laugh

A recent study performed by researchers in Nottingham examined how various psychological and behavioral factors can impact vaccines. Researchers wanted to understand which of these factors have the biggest effect on the ability of vaccines to fight off disease. These factors included everything from physical activity, diet, sleep, and negative or positive moods.

Low and behold! Researchers found that only the positive mood factor was associated with an increase in the amount of influenza antibody in the blood. This was noted at both 4 weeks and 16 weeks after the vaccination. They found an even greater effect on Day 1 of the vaccination; the day the vaccination was administered showed an antibody increase anywhere between 8 and 14 percent.

The good news is that vaccines have proven to be 70 to 90 percent effective in younger people. But what does this say for those in their fifties and beyond? Well, it sound likes you may want to take a yoga class, spend some time laughing with friends, or getting a massage right before you get your flu vaccine. It might just give you the boost you need to ward off the flu this season.

Want to learn more about flu vaccinations? Read our blogs about the discontinuation of the nasal spray and why it’s recommended to get your child the flu shot.