Sadly, the dreaded Man Flu is taking men down once again this winter.
Seems like every year when the weather gets chilly, and cold starts spreading it’s up to the women to keep life afloat while their male companions can’t even reach the box of tissues because they hurt so badly.
But wait! There’s new research available that suggests that men do have a more terrible time with colds and influenza than women.
Honestly, no one knows for sure if men experience symptoms worse than women.
Several studies have been done, like this one that says estrogen has antiviral effects against influenza, but still, no rock-solid evidence has ever proven that man flu is real.
Recently though, one researcher decided to dig through the available studies for the Christmas Issue of BMJ and has determined that good amount of evidence suggests that yes, man flu is real.
Don’t take this too seriously though, since this study featured in BMJ’s Christmas 2017: All Creatures Great and Small, comes off as playful and joking in a way.
It pays to remember, that BMJ also gave us how to stop a zombie virus outbreak for Christmas 2015.
Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, begins by saying “Despite the universally high incidence and prevalence of viral respiratory illnesses, no scientific review has examined whether the term ‘man flu’ is appropriately defined or just an ingrained pejorative term with no scientific basis,”
Then he goes on to say, “Tired of being accused of over-reacting, I searched the available evidence to determine whether men really experience worse symptoms and whether this could have any evolutionary basis.”
Dr. Sue searched through seven academic databases, read through hundreds of papers and then cross-examined to check out how thoroughly researched the articles were.
Only then was he able to conclude that apparently, men are not exaggerating their symptoms, but they do have weaker immune responses to viral respiratory illnesses.
Hospital records even confirmed the severity of the symptoms that the men experienced and were also able to show the mortality rates.
Dr. Sue’s research of the scientific literature has shown that there’s a hormonal link that suggests men have a weaker immune response due to their hormonal balance or that the women’s estrogen promotes a stronger immune response.
It could be either one of these or a mix of both.
As of right now, the evidence isn’t strong enough to know for sure because many of the studies don’t have a control for other factors. So, until we’ve found concrete proof we are unable to say for sure whether man flu is real.
Although, if one day in the future this is proven to be true, it would mean that men are the weaker sex, at least immunologically speaking.
Remember, that this study has many strong hints that it is jocular.
It even includes a passage towards the end about man flu victims resting on sofas and notes that the benefits to energy conservation when ill is an evolutionary behavior in protection against predators.
The final ending sentence seems somewhat tongue in cheek; “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.”
I wonder what our reader’s take on the man flu phenomenon is?
If you’re a woman have you noticed that the men in your family become much sicker than you do when you have shared the same virus?
Men, are you sure that you are sicker or are you just playing it up to get chicken noodle soup and jello delivered couch-side?
Until there’s more proof, we may never know for sure, but I hope that everyone recovers quickly from their winter illnesses.
About the Author: Bethany Vincent is a writer from La Grange Kentucky who has loved playing with words since she first learned to speak. She lives with her teenage son and adopted dog daughter in a cute, yellow house with a picket fence. During college at the University of Louisville, she could be found at the writing center most of the time and her main areas of focus were literature, creative writing, and visual arts. Bethany has contributed articles and created content for many websites and blogs during her writing career. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, juggle-dancing, yoga, photography, cooking and singing along with her favorite songs while in the car driving. In the future, she plans to finish writing her first book and hopes to travel to all the beautiful places that she’s read about.
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