From getting vaccinated early to going to bed and avoiding painkillers — there are surprisingly easy tricks to making vaccines work better.
And with the United States battling its biggest flu outbreak in more than a decade, the timing couldn’t be more important.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) says everyone six months of age and older should get the vaccine this year as a deadlier strain of the flu spreads through US hospitals.
Studies show that being vaccinated before 11 a.m. may increase your immune response because more T cells—immune cells that fight off infections in the long term—are present at that time.
Numerous research papers have shown that getting a good night’s sleep before and after bed is also key to boosting your body’s response, as lack of sleep may give you fewer virus-killing antibodies in the short term.
Abstaining from painkillers will also help, as they weaken the immune response that the vaccine targets.
But doctors emphasized that vaccination in less than ideal conditions is much better than not being vaccinated at all.
Research has suggested that getting a tingle in the morning is the best time. Sleeping at least six hours before and after vaccination is also important, as is abstaining from pain relievers
Confirmed RSV cases were 12,905 for the week ending October 29, while the positive test rate was 18.8% for the week ending November 5.
Confirmed cases of influenza reached 13,806 during the week ending November 5, a new high for the season and sharp growth from previous weeks.
A Kansas elementary school closes for three days to “disinfect the building” – with a third of teachers and pupils sick
A Kansas elementary school closed for three days this month after it was hit by a wave of respiratory illnesses among students and staff.
Christ the King Catholic School, a K-8 school with 250 students and 21 teachers in Kansas City, Kansas, closed its doors on Wednesday the 9th after more than 50 children and seven staff members reported illness.
Officials plan to disinfect the building during the holidays. It reopened last Monday.
It comes amid a nationwide surge of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that has hit young children the hardest.
Children’s hospitals across the United States are reporting that they are at or near capacity as the explosive increase in the number of cases overwhelms emergency rooms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 7,945 new RSV infections during the week ending November 5.
This is a massive upward shift from fewer than 2,000 cases reported at the start of September.
More than 1,300 flu cases were also reported nationwide that week — up from just a few hundred in August and the highest number for this flu season so far.
The surge has caused dozens of schools across the country to temporarily close due to staffing issues or to prevent the spread of the virus.
Experts have warned that this year’s flu season will be harsher than in previous years, after lockdowns during the pandemic left many people’s immune systems unprepared.
And the flu shutdowns mirror the destructive school policies put in place during the first months of the pandemic.
One study conducted last year from Sun Yat-sen University Hospital in China, on 63 people, showed that those who received a Covid vaccine between 9 am and 11 am had a stronger immune response than those who were vaccinated between 3 pm and 5 pm in the evening. afternoon.
Immune cell levels vary throughout the day, and Dr. Peter Chen Hong, an infectious disease physician at the University of California San Francisco, suggested to ABC News that people who are able to get vaccinated in the morning may fare better.
Research in mice has shown that in the morning, genes that produce T cells are activated, as well as producing more molecules used to recognize antigens.
During the night, genes create molecules that stop this response.
Something similar could happen in humans.
Several other studies have shown that sleep plays a vital role in vaccine effectiveness.
Researchers from the University of Lübeck in Germany found that sleeping after a hepatitis A shot doubled the amount of immune cells formed in response to the vaccine.
A 2012 study found that at least six hours is preferred.
Those who slept less than that after they got the hepatitis B vaccination were less likely to respond correctly to the shot, because they had fewer antibodies.
Another study found that how well you rested even days before a shot can affect how much protection it gives you.
Shorter periods of sleep two days before receiving a flu shot resulted in fewer antibodies being produced among 83 healthy adults, even months after vaccination.
Separate research from Jahrom University of Medical Sciences in Iran backs this up – they found that six out of eight studies selected found a positive relationship between sleep and immune response after vaccination.
“Sleep is critical to physical health and helps strengthen the immune system, and so some studies have suggested that vaccine efficacy could be negatively affected by sleep deprivation,” Dr. Jane Morgan, executive director of health and community education at Piedmont Hospital, told DailyMail.com. “.
But she stressed that “vaccination under any circumstances is the most important thing.”
While you may want to take a pain reliever to deal with the after effects of the vaccine, you should avoid taking it beforehand.
Research has indicated that taking medications such as paracetamol and NSAIDs can dampen the antibody response, although scientists aren’t sure why.
That’s because drugs like Advil can prevent inflammation and reduce the immune system’s ability to respond to the injection, Dr. Chen Hong said.
“The concern about painkillers is that they may reduce the immune response that the vaccine targets,” Dr. Morgan told DailyMail.com, but added that “more studies are needed.”
Many children’s hospitals are already at or near record levels of capacity for this time of year and flu rates are the highest since the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
Experts say the ‘immune gap’ that has emerged during lockdowns, work-from-home and mask mandates during the Covid outbreak has denied Americans important exposure to germs that strengthen their immune systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 7.4 out of every 100,000 Americans 65 or older have been hospitalized for a respiratory illness so far—numbers that aren’t usually seen until the depths of winter.
This number is ten times higher than it was before the pandemic. But the rate is dwindling as children are hospitalized, with 50.6 out of every 100,000 children 17 or younger admitted with a respiratory defect this season.
Leading the wave is RSV and influenza – which is back again this year after largely disappearing during the first two years of the Covid pandemic.
RSV usually causes a mild cold in more people, but the virus can be especially harmful to young children. The CDC reports about 500 pediatric deaths each year.
The CDC reported 7,945 new RSV infections during the week ending November 5, the most recent data available. Confirmed RSV cases peaked during the week ending October 29, with 12,905 infections, a massive upward shift from fewer than 2,000 cases reported at the start of September.
More than 1,300 flu cases were also reported nationwide that week — up from just a few hundred in August and the highest number for this flu season so far. Both figures are an underestimate because viruses are not tested on the same scale as Covid.
The southern states were hardest hit by the surge. Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia have all reported “very high” levels of influenza activity according to the CDC.