Is 'man flu' real? Men suffer more when sick

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CNN reports that according to research published Monday in the BMJ Medical Journal, with many respiratory diseases, men are more susceptible to complications than women. Moreover, women may enjoy greater protection from flu vaccine than men do.

"The concept of man flu, as commonly defined, is potentially unjust".

The study was performed by a small team of Canadian scientists led by Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In one of the mouse studies Sue managed to pull out, it was revealed that testosterone could dampen a male's response to influenza while the female's sex hormones can boost it.

But before you let this news be the excuse your man needs to pull a sickie, use LYNSEY CLARKE's guide to find out if your guy's coughs and sniffles are the real deal.

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Contrary to stereotypes, Sue also found that it was women who are the first to reduce their activities at the opening signs of a viral infection, with men stoically more likely to continue on, delaying their overall recovery time. Their quest for dominance meant that they frequently died fighting for the chance to reproduce; women, on the other hand, needed to endure to nurture the resulting offspring.

"Despite the universally high incidence and prevalence of viral respiratory illnesses, no scientific review has examined whether the term man flu is appropriate or accurate".

"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".

Health officials said that while it's too early to tell how severe this flu season will be, the main strain circulating tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations than others. The higher the testosterone, the slower and weaker the immune response.

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When feeling under the weather, Dr Sue promotes energy conservation. "But I think everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt when they are ill".

Playing up to the stereotypes of men's reactions to illness, Sue jokingly said: "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".

Your (male) CORDIS writer thoroughly endorses this idea!

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