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Don’t want the flu? Get a shot while you feel happy, study suggests

With flu season right around the corner, you’re sure to be flooded with messages reminding you to get your yearly influenza vaccination.

The flu shot, of course, is not perfect, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says getting vaccinated reduces the chance of catching the flu by 40 to 60 percent.

There are a few factors that determine just how effective the flu shot is, according to the CDC, including age, health and how well a particular strand of flu matches up with the vaccine you got.

But now, researchers from the University of Nottingham have another tip that might make your next flu shot work even better — get the shot while you’re in a good mood.

Published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, researchers analyzed 138 people aged 65 to 85 for a study and tracked their mood, diet, exercise and sleep patterns in the six weeks before they got a flu shot.

Researchers then took a blood sample from the adults four weeks after the flu shot, and again 16 weeks after, to check for influenza antibodies, according to Futurism. The participants also filled out a questionnaire about their mood the day they got the flu shot.

Of all the factors examined, only a positive mood seemed to change how effective a flu shot is, according to MotherNatureNetwork.

Those who were in a good mood the weeks before the shot, and especially the day of it, were found to have higher levels of flu antibodies — up to 14 percent more, according to Futurism.

“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,” researchers wrote in the study.

However, not everyone is buying into the study.

The researchers behind the study were unable to definitively prove a good mood can actually strengthen a flu shot, and Rebecca Goldin, a professor of mathematical sciences at George Mason University, cautioned against reading too much into the findings.

“In this study, the authors conducted so many comparisons that some kind of smoking gun was likely to appear, regardless of whether there’s an actual relationship or not,” she wrote. “ … This study does not provide statistical evidence either for, or against, the scientific hypothesis that mood impacts vaccine efficacy.”

In response, the study’s researchers say more testing should be done to determine the relationship between mood and vaccinations.

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