A new study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, finds that people with obesity may carry the influenza A virus for longer periods of time compared to people with the normal weight. The study suggests that obesity affects the severity of flu symptoms, as well as the virus spreads.
For the study, a team of researchers collected and analyzed data on around 1783 people from Managua in Nicaragua during the three seasons of flu from 2015 till 2017. The results of the analysis showed that people with obesity who had flu shed the virus for 42% longer than people without the obesity.
Stacey Schultz-Cherry of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, US, comments on the public health implications of the study: “It is therefore even more important to develop effective strategies to prevent and control influenza, especially in the overweight and obese population,” she writes, “which could be challenging because of the poor vaccine responses in this population.”
A new study, executed by a team of health scientists from the University of Nottingham, finds that being in a good mood on a day of flu vaccination may increase its positive effect.
For the research, the team measured negative mood, positive mood, physical activity, diet, and sleep three times a week over a 6 week period in a group of 138 older people getting their vaccination. The analysis showed that of all factors only good mood over the 6 weeks observational period predicted how well the shot worked. A good mood associated with higher levels of antibody.
Professor Kavita Vedhara, from the University’s Division of Primary Care, explains: “Vaccinations are an incredibly effective way of reducing the likelihood of catching infectious diseases. But their Achilles heel is that their ability to protect against disease is affected by how well an individual’s immune system works. So people with less effective immune systems, such as the elderly, may find vaccines don’t work as well for them as they do in the young. We have known for many years that a number of psychological and behavioral factors such as stress, physical activity and diet influence how well the immune system works and these factors have also been shown to influence how well vaccines protect against disease.”