Kyle Sue, a Canadian scientist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland took it upon himself to prove the existence of the mythical man flu. His paper, published in the journal, BMJ, suggests that the ailment is indeed very real and should be treated as such.
Sue confessed he was “tired of being accused of over-reacting” when telling people of his flu symptoms which appeared to be way worse than what women perceive when they’re down.
The Oxford Dictionary defines man flu as “a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms.”
Kyle, however, wanted to eliminate the “exaggerating” part and proceeded in analyzing previous studies to see whether men experience worse flu symptoms than women. He found evidence of this which points to an immunity gap between the two genders.
According to Sue, this immunity gap may be due to a hormonal difference, where the masculine hormone testosterone smothers the immune system while the feminine hormone estradiol protects it.
The researcher first pointed out that women respond differently to vaccines that protect against the flu, in that they are more responsive to vaccination than men.
Sue then emphasized on men’s higher risk of hospitalization due to the flu and their higher rate of influenza-related deaths compared with women. The results remained constant regardless of underlying heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory system disease, and renal disease, according to him.
The Canadian scientist urges researchers to conduct more studies into men’s responses to the symptoms. He believes they are caused by a survival instinct meant to conserve energy. He then adds as a sort of tongue-in-cheek comparison, that this survival instinct replaced avoiding predators with lying on the couch for increased chances of survivability.
Sue concludes his research by calling the term ‘man flu’ “unjust” and calls for additional research on the subject.
Image Source: Flickr
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