Want to get a flu shot? Then,go for it in the morning if you are a man and in the afternoon if you are a woman,scientists say.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham believe that flu vaccinations can be made more effective by changing the time of day they are given — mornings for men and afternoons for women are best.
According to them,synchronising the jab with the body’s natural daily cyclical rhythm makes it more likely to offer good immunity.
The immune system gets sluggish as we age which explains why only a third of elderly people vaccinated get full protection from their winter flu vaccine,Dr Anna Phillips,the lead author of the study,said.
“The biggest effect we found was that men had a much stronger antibody response when they had the flu jab in the morning,meaning they would be better protected against flu,” Dr Phillips was quoted as saying by BBC.
She said: “The reason behind this is likely to be due to an interaction between the hormones and immune system messengers that fluctuate throughout the day,and sex hormones. We are now testing several potential candidates to try to understand this effect better.
“If this works,it would be such an easy intervention to improve protection against infection in older adults.”
Dr Phillips and her team hope to get a definitive answer by studying at least 300 elderly patients attending for their routine flu vaccinations this winter and next.
“We’ve already made a start and hope to get enough patients on board to be able to see if such a simple,cheap measure of changing appointment times can make all the difference.”
Prof Janet Lord,an expert in on healthy ageing,said: “It’s a major health issue trying to find ways to improve the vaccination response.
“We know that immunity goes down with ageing. But this work may have found a way to counter that.”