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    4 Most Interesting Flu Research Findings

    You think you know about the flu, but you may not know everything. Really! Even though the flu is a staple of winter weather, researchers are constantly uncovering nuances about our annual visitor that surprise even the most well-versed flu physician. Below are 4 flu findings that might tickle your curiosity:

    1. Holiday season means less flu. According to a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, flu spreads less over the holidays because kids are not in school. Researcher Shweta Bansal and her team used “big data” to track flu virus epidemiology, highlighting the role schools play in the spread of infection. Another study published in PLOS Computational Biology used a “synthetic population” to track the spread of flu in schools, concluding that vaccinating kids early in the flu season would benefit society as a whole.
    1. Humidity affects the spread of the flu more than population density does. Other research being conducted in Bansal’s lab indicates that people often stay indoors when it’s cold and dry outside, making the spread of flu more viable, and the virus itself survives better in dry conditions.
    1. A positive mood increases vaccine effectiveness. We’re all aware of the effect a positive attitude can have on wellness, but this study newly published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity proves it! Research found that a greater “positive mood in older adults, particularly on the day of vaccination, is associated with enhanced responses to vaccination.”
    1. Flu shots are more effective than we originally thought. A study published in Science found that vaccinations trigger a person’s immune response not only to the particular virus strain in the shot, but to every strain of that type of flu the person has ever been infected with. This phenomenon, called “back-boosting,” means a person’s old immunities are boosted each time they encounter a new flu virus.

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