Things You Can Do To Help Maximize Your Flu Shot
Hey, it’s already the end of October! If you haven’t already done so, get your flu shot this week. The CDC recommends getting it by the end of October for maximum efficacy. “It takes about two weeks from the time you receive your flu vaccine for your body to develop enough antibodies to protect your from the flu”, according to Amira Roess, Ph.D, infectious disease specialist at George Mason University. With flu season already starting on the east coast, set yourself up for success and maximum antibody protection by being proactive.
Good sleep is always a good practice but particularly once you’ve gotten the flu shot. Our immune system repairs and builds itself while we’re sleeping, according to Matt Walker, sleep scientist and professor at UC, Berkley, so if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not fully utilizing the antibodies from the vaccine. In his TED talk, Walker states that individuals not getting 7 hours of sleep a night were 3x more likely to get a cold. A study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that the flu vaccine was HALF as effective in people who got less than 5 hours of sleep per night leading up to their flu shot. Adequate amounts of sleep vary with each individual but generally fall within 6-9 hours a night.
Next, keep moving! Regular exercise aids in keeping your body healthy and ready for the flu vaccine. The risk of chronic illness, which is a factor in flu complications, is simply lower in bodies staying more active and maintaining a healthy body weight. Along with this remember to stay hydrated and try your best to make healthy food choices to support your immune system. Pay attention to probiotic foods, vegetables, whole grains, yogurt and fermented foods to keep your immune system in peak shape. See our ongoing blogs about yummy autumn produce recipes. My personal favorite at the moment is the pomegranate, which, because of its nutty-like texture, is delicious in almost everything. If you don’t have time, markets are stocked right now with some delicious autumn soups and grains for a easy meal. I just had a field day in Trader Joes. In fact, I think Trader Joes is just plain good for the soul, which must be good for the immune system!
Stay vigilant, stay healthy, hug those in your household a lot, and don’t forget to keep washing your hands!
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