How to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Flu Shot

Getting your regular flu shot can help keep you protected against the seasonal flu. Aside from reducing your chances of catching the flu, getting a flu vaccine can also reduce the transmission of the virus to high-risk individuals. So, it’s really important to get your flu vaccine every year. But did you know that there are some practices you can do to make your flu shot more effective?

Get the Timing Right

Not many people realize this, but it matters when you get your flu shot. You need to time your flu vaccine right to get maximum protection. This is because it will take around two weeks from the time you get your shot for your body to develop the antibodies it needs to protect you from the virus. Getting it too late may not give your body enough time to develop enough antibodies. According to the CDC, the end of October is the ideal time to get your flu shot so it can be most effective.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Regardless of whether you’re getting your flu shot or not, it’s essential to eat a healthy diet to keep your body healthy. But eating healthier before and after getting your shot can really help boost the effectiveness of the flu shot. That’s because a healthy diet can help promote a healthy immune system.

In particular, you should focus on eating foods that are good for your gut health. For example, probiotics are often essential in keeping your gut biome healthy and can help you fight off the flu. Other healthy foods you should add to your diet include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fermented foods, and yogurt.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep plays a crucial role in a person’s health. So, it’s best to develop good sleep habits so you can have quality sleep each night. Fixing your bad sleep habits is especially crucial leading up to your flu shot. After all, you’d want to be well-rested when it’s time to get your shot.

Aside from that, inadequate sleep can also increase your chances of coming down with the cold. When you’re not getting enough sleep each night, your body weakens, and your immune system can get compromised. 

In fact, a study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that the vaccine’s effectiveness was down to half in those who had less than five hours of sleep in the nights leading up to their flu shot. Since the body isn’t getting enough sleep, the immune system wouldn’t have enough time to repair and build itself at night.

Exercise Your Body

Regular physical activity is another essential aspect of personal health. And it can also help you get the most out of your flu vaccine. Engaging in plenty of physical activity can help get your body ready for the shot. In particular, regular cardiovascular exercise was found to improve a person’s response to the flu shot, according to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of lifestyle changes you can do to help increase the effectiveness of your flu shot. In general, it’s all about keeping your body healthy so it can be ready to receive the vaccine. This can be through quality sleep, healthy eating, and regular exercise. The timing of your flu vaccine also matters.

Keep yourself healthy and protected from the flu with the help of Aspen Medical Center. We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM that provides flu shots and other primary and urgent care services. Schedule an appointment now!