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To Prevent the Flu, Smile!

Cheer Up, Heal Up!

Flu season is upon us and adults aged 65 or older run the highest risk of contracting the sickness. As immune systems often grow weaker with age, vaccines become less effective due to a weakened ability to react and form antibodies.

But a recent study has revealed a new way for seniors’ flu vaccines to have an optimal effect: get your flu shot when you’re in a happy mood!

“We have known since 1996 that negative moods like stress affect how well vaccines work,” says Kavita Vedhara, a researcher at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. But just how important is one’s mood with relation to vaccinations?

Following a study of nearly 150 seniors, Vedhara and her team discovered that while a positive mood, healthy diet, and exercise all lead to improved immune response, the biggest factor in the vaccine’s positive effect was the patient’s mood while receiving it.

Those who reported being in a good mood the day of receiving their vaccines had more antibodies (i.e. a greater immunity) than the subjects who reported being in a bad mood prior to receiving their vaccination.

A positive mood can give your immune system a boost by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while also lending to a better diet, exercise, and sleep — all of which can strengthen one’s immune system.

So, in the words of Monty Python, always look on the bright side of life! That’s not hard to do at McKnight Place.

Fostering A Healthy Lifestyle at McKnight Place

Our residents’ health, well-being, and comfort are our top priority. There’s no need to travel off-site for medical checkups — in fact, most routine exams and concerns, including receiving a flu shot, can be addressed without ever having to leave home. Our Medical Director is board certified in gerontology, and our licensed nursing staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To learn more about Dr. Vedhara’s findings, visit the AARP article on her study here. To learn more about how McKnight Place can help you or a loved one with assisted living or skilled nursing services, or to schedule a tour, contact us at 314-993-3333.