3 Ways to Help Make Your Flu Shot Even More Effective

Vanessa Etienne
·2 min read

From Men's Health

Flu season is approaching, and staying healthy is even more crucial this year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors recommend getting your yearly flu shot handled sooner rather than later, and warn of a "twindemic" of two respiratory diseases hitting the medical system at the same time.

While there isn't a vaccine for COVID-19 yet, there is one for the flu. And experts say there are a number of ways to make sure your flu shot is effective.

Get enough sleep

Helping your flu shot be as effective as it can be all starts with a good night’s sleep. A study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine revealed that insufficient sleep prior to taking the flu shot can result in the vaccination being only half as effective. While you sleep, your body is restoring itself and strengthening your immune system. But this research found that people who got less sleep had fewer antibodies to the flu. Less sleep, more vulnerable immune system. Getting seven to ten hours of sleep the night before a vaccination, or even the entire week before, can be vital for your flu shot actually getting the job done.

Get your flu shot in the morning

Receiving the flu shot in the morning could be more beneficial for staying healthy. Research shows that those who get their flu vaccines between 9 and 11 a.m. develop twice the amount of antibodies compared to those who received the shot later in the day.

But while time of day is important, time of year is definitely worth making note of as well. According to the CDC, you should aim to get your flu shot done by the end of October. Doctors say it takes about two weeks after getting the flu shot for the body to develop the antibodies needed to fight the virus. But if you don't get it by then, don't skip it! If the flu virus is still spreading, vaccinations will be available through January or even later.

Photo credit: Men's Health
Photo credit: Men's Health

Be consistent with your workouts

Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. We all know that staying fit and maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial when it comes to reducing the risks of many illnesses, including the flu. But a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society actually found that “regular endurance exercise improves influenza vaccine responses.” People who did cardio in this study were better protected all flu season long than people who just did flexibility training. Get started or keep it up with the cardio workouts here.

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