Man Flu May Actually Be A Real Thing, Claims Doctor

Frederick Owens
December 13, 2017

Dr Sue concluded that based on the existing research, the man flu term was "potentially unjust", citing studies that suggested men were not exaggerating their symptoms.

It's called the "man flu".

Sue searched for evidence of whether or not men experience the flu differently from women, and if there might be an evolutionary reason for this.

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.

Still another investigation indicated that in the face of both the flu and other respiratory illnesses, men face a higher risk for developing complications than women.

A number of studies conducted of cell samples found that differences in male and female sex and stress hormones may affect influenza outcomes to the benefit of women. He pointed to two studies that used human samples that showed exposure to estrogen and oestradiol (prominently found in women) weakened normal flu symptoms. The report is written somewhat tongue-in-cheek by Doctor Kyle Sue.

While the phrase "man flu" started as derision for what is seen as men whining about being sick, researchers say men's immune systems may be weaker than women's and respiratory illnesses may actually hit them harder.

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This theory could be tested with a clinical trial that divides men infected with a respiratory virus into two groups: the fate of men left to "fend for themselves" would be compared to outcomes of men whose every request is "met by a healthy designated caregiver", Sue proposed.

In response to the evidence Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of Global Positioning System said that there is no such thing as man flu, as she said 'flu is not sexist'. "We already screen men earlier for cardiovascular diseases because they are more susceptible".

"I think the symptoms are real", Sue said.

"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", Sue explains. "Is it that women are more resilient, that they are able to juggle more when they are ill, or is it that they don't have as severe symptoms?"

"The best advice for anyone affected is to rest at home, drink plenty of fluids and to take over-the-counter painkillers", said Stokes-Lampard said.

What's more, other studies have suggested that the "male" hormone testosterone may lower the body's immune response to flu viruses, Sue said.

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?

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