FYI Daily

Another Gender Difference: Optimal Time of Day for Flu Shots

Last updated:

December 23, 2011
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Want to get the best bang for your buck when getting your flu shot? You might have to schedule your appointment for a certain time of day.

According to researchers in Britain, men may have a better immune response to flu shots if they're given in the morning instead of the afternoon, while for women, it may be the opposite.

Anna Phillips, lead researcher of the University of Birmingham team, plans to enroll 300 older British adults this year and next year to test the theory. Men will be given morning appointments and women given afternoon appointments.

Phillips told the BBC that men have a stronger antibody response to flu shots given in the morning, probably "due to an interaction between the hormones and immune system messengers that fluctuate throughout the day, and sex hormones... If this works, it would be such an easy intervention to improve protection against infection in older adults."

Making time for a flu shot might be hard enough without this additional constraint, but consider this: The BBC said that only a third of older adults get full immunity from their flu shots. Clearing some time in the appropriate time of day might save a lot of aches and pains later in the season.