What is man flu, is it real and what are the symptoms?

Men may actually get sicker from respiratory viruses and may not be just exaggerating their symptoms, says Dr. Kyle Sue.

"Man flu" has been talked about so much that Oxford now defines it in their dictionaries, as "a cold or similar ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms".

Other studies from Hong Kong and the United States have found that, compared with women, men have a higher risk for hospital admission and death from the flu.

Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor in family medicine at Memorial University in St. Johns, made a decision to study the available research to see if he could settle the debate with science.

But there does exist, apparently, a scientific basis for man flu itself.

In short, women have stronger physical constitutions than men.

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. Here's everything you need to know about a new study's shocking findings.

He says past research shows that men have a weaker immune response to viral infections, therefore experiencing worse, and longer symptoms, compared to women.

"The point I want to make is that whether males or females suffer more really depends a lot on our age", said Klein, whose own research is referenced by Sue.

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'. During the reproductive years, it is women who often suffer more severe disease, in part because flu is worse for pregnant women but also because women develop higher - nearly excessive - inflammatory responses to flu.

Sue suggests that men's immunological deficits may be the natural result of their evolved role in human society.

I wonder who funded this pointless #ManFlu research?

Sue further supports his claim about hormones by pointing out that pregnant people - who undergo significant hormonal shifts - are more affected by influenza symptoms than women who are not pregnant.

Among the theories put forward, Sue notes higher testosterone levels might offer upsides when it comes competing against other males that outweigh the possible negative impact on the immune system, or that being more under the weather keeps males bedbound and hence potentially out of the way of predators.

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?

  • Santos West