The 6 stages of 'man flu' that every woman dreads

Glen Mclaughlin
December 13, 2017

It's not clear why men may have a weaker immune response to respiratory viruses, but hormones could play a role, with the "female" hormone estrogen, in particular, providing a protective effect against these viruses, Sue said.

Sue did discover several studies that suggest female mice have a stronger immune system than the males of the species.

His study also noted that a seasonal influenza study from 2004 to 2010 in Hong Kong found men had higher rates of hospital admission, and a decade-long American observational study that ended in 2007 suggested men had higher rates of flu-related deaths in comparison to women.

However, till now, people weren't sure if it was real or men are just whiny wimps.

"While there are people who believe that "man flu" is an actual disease, and some men (and women) genuinely believe it is the reason they are unwell, there is little science to back this up". The doctor based in Canada's northern territory of Nunavut reviewed some scientific literature to find out whether men have weaker immune responses than do women.

Nevertheless, he says, the available evidence does suggest men suffer more with the flu than women. The man flu looks a lot like a regular cold or virus only the patient (a man) tends to get dramatic about it, requiring extra care and attention while others with the same cold or virus are able to carry on with their lives.

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In compiling other studies, he discovered men are more likely to be admitted to the hospital for flu symptoms than women, that women generally have a better response to vaccination than men, and in one observational study, more men had flu-related deaths in the USA between 1997-2007.

Medical professional also deserve some of the blame, Sue says, since "clinical observers are more ready to...under-rate men's symptoms". "That's how the term "man flu" became so commonly used internationally, regardless of differences in culture", he said. "But I think everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt when they are ill". Perhaps cavemen suffering from man flu is what pushed women out into the world to gather berries?

This "immunity gap" may be modulated by hormonal differences, in which the masculine hormone testosterone suppresses the immune system while the feminine hormone estradiol protects it.

I wonder who funded this pointless #ManFlu research?

Quoting evolutionary theorists (and acknowledging the possibility of "author bias"), Sue wonders this: If males burnt up their energies fighting off infections, would it have been a costly distraction from their strategy of attracting sexual partners by growing bigger, stronger and faster? "Lying on the couch, not getting out of bed, or receiving assistance with activities of daily living could also be evolutionary behaviours that once protected against predators", Sue explained.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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