Flu circulating in the UK this winter is expected to be the worst for years, with deaths being reported from the recent Aussie flu outbreak.
The NHS has warned people to brace for the worst and getting vaccinated could protect you – just make sure you go get your jab at the right moment.
Researchers have found that being in a good mood could affect how well a flu vaccine protects you.
A study by the University of Nottingham showed that being positive boosted how well it worked.
The surprising findings are being attributed to a link between psychological wellbeing and the body’s immunity.
Flu jabs work by stimulating your body’s immune system to create antibodies.
Since scientists have to pedicure which virus strains might attack – based on what’s recently been in circulation – it is not completely effective.
Additionally, how well it works will depend on the the ability of the person to develop an effective immune response.
However, the new findings could provide a simple way for people to increase their protection.
“Patient behaviours and psychological well-being can influence immune responses to vaccination,” the study authors write.
They found that sleep, stress, physical activity and nutrition, as well as mood, could influence effectiveness of the vaccine.
Being in a good mood was found to enhance protection in particular.
“We found that greater positive mood, whether measured repeatedly over a 6-week period around vaccination, or on the day of vaccination, significantly predicted greater antibody responses to influenza vaccination,” wrote the study authors.
Previous research has discovered that a positive mood could act as an ‘immune modulator’ for vaccines.
They believe the link may be due to the association between positive moods and healthier lifestyles, but also thanks to a biological pathway linking the immune system and the brain mechanisms that regulate our moods.
More research is required to confirm the connection between mood and vaccine protection.
The flu jab is offered free of charge to people who at particular risk, including those who are pregnant, over 65 and have certain medical conditions.