“Man flu” has become an internet meme. Men have been mocked for long, for being drama queens when it comes to having a cold or flu. If men catch even a simple cold their symptoms are as bad as if they had influenza, and when they contract actual flu their symptoms are way worse than in women. The over exaggeration of their cold-like symptoms, have barely achieved them any sympathy from their loved ones.
When Men complain of cold or flu symptoms it may not be fair to dismiss their sufferings considering them to be “big babies”. Recent research reveals that men experience worse symptoms than women after falling prey to respiratory viruses. “Man Flu” has become so common a term that it has found a place in the Oxford dictionary. The Oxford dictionary defines it as “a cold or 1similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms”.
Canadian scientist, Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor in family medicine with the Memorial University of Newfoundland, published an article in the British Medical Journal which mentions that men seem to experience worse symptoms of cold and flu than women.
In the journal Dr. Sue revealed that he was tired of being accused of overreacting, so he started searching for available evidence to determine whether men really experience worse symptoms than women. And does these sufferings have an evolutionary background?
The doctor analyzed man flu as a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms. His paper says that men are not overreacting during illness, but are weaker due to low immune responses to viral respiratory viruses. According to the research, men have a higher risk of hospitalisation due to flu and higher rates of influenza-related deaths in comparison to women of same age. His paper reads, “This was true regardless of underlying heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory system disease, and renal disease.”
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His research states, “Studies of influenza vaccination suggest that women are more responsive to vaccination than men.” Sue also says medical professionals also deserve the blame as “clinical observers are more ready to under-rate men’s symptoms”. He also suggests that men’s increased sickness may be a survival instinct as “it promotes energy conservation and reduces the risk of encountering predators.” His description reads, “Classic modes of energy conservation may include lying on the couch, not getting out of bed, or receiving assistance with basic activities of daily living, which could all be effective for avoiding predators.”
Additional research on ‘man flu’, he concludes, “The concept of man flu, as commonly defined, is potentially unjust” due to their potentially-weaker immune responses. He adds, “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.”
According to the research, men have the higher risk of hospitalisation due to flu and higher rates of influenza-related deaths when compared to women of same age. His paper reads, “This was true regardless of underlying heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory system disease, and renal disease”.
Dr. Sue concludes that higher quality of research is needed to clarify other aspects of man flu because it still remains uncertain whether viral quantities, immune response, symptoms and recovery time can be affected by environmental conditions.