For a lot of people, getting a flu shot is an annual event, but this year, it may be more important than ever because of the pandemic. The CDC recommends everyone over six months old should get a flu vaccine each year, with a few exceptions. And if you do roll up your sleeve for your shot, these are a few things that can make it as effective as possible.
- Time it right - Infectious disease specialist Dr. Amira Roess advises getting the flu vaccine soon because flu season has already kicked off in some parts of the country. And the CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October for it to be most effective.
- Get enough sleep - Getting quality sleep is important all the time, but it can also help ensure your immune system is in the best shape to make the most of your flu shot. Matt Walker, sleep scientist and professor at the University of Berkeley, explains in a TED Talk that folks who aren’t getting enough sleep are three times more likely to get a cold than those who doze for more than seven hours a night. He also references a study that finds those who didn’t get more than five hours a night before their flu shot made the vaccine only half as effective.
- Move your body - Getting plenty of exercise can keep your body healthy and being physically fit can reduce your risk for chronic illness, plus, one study finds regular cardio improves people’s responses to the flu vaccine.
- Keep your gut healthy - Eating a healthy diet helps to support a healthy immune system, so load up on veggies, fruits, whole grains, yogurt, and probiotics in fermented foods, like kimchi and sauerkraut to help make the most of your flu shot.
Source: Real Simple