Feel Good

‘Man Flu’ Not a Joke After All?

Here's what a recent study said.

BY December 14, 2017

Ladies, it’s time to cut ’em some slack.

We’re talking about the man in your life, on the couch, tissues in hand, moaning and groaning about being sick. (You, meanwhile, have downed some pain killers and are muddling through the day’s tasks.)

The flu may indeed be making him more sick.

That’s what Dr. Kyle Sue of Canada’s Memorial University of Newfoundland discovered when he set out to learn whether “man flu” was merely a pejorative term, coined by fed-up women, or whether respiratory illnesses like influenza really did hit men harder.

His study, published in the Dec. 11 issue of the journal BMJ, finds that men suffered more severe symptoms than women and that women’s hormones may soften the blow of the illness. Moreover, women may enjoy greater protection from flu vaccine than men do.  

Sue concludes: “The concept of man flu, as commonly defined, is potentially unjust. Men may not be exaggerating symptoms but have weaker immune responses to viral respiratory viruses, leading to greater morbidity and mortality than seen in women. There are benefits to energy conservation when ill. Lying on the couch, not getting out of bed, or receiving assistance with activities of daily living could also be evolutionarily behaviours that protect against predators. Perhaps now is the time for male friendly spaces, equipped with enormous televisions and reclining chairs, to be set up where men can recover from the debilitating effects of man flu in safety and comfort.”


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