Man flue is real
Women have long moaned about the men in their lives coming down with “man flu”. They accuse men of turning into feeble, moaning boys. However, according to a new study, there is actually some truth to the idea of man flu.
It all comes down to our cavemen ancestors – men have weaker immune systems than women. This used to deter them from going out hunting when ill.
A Canadian study was carried out to try and find out whether men really do experience worse symptoms than women or whether it is just a myth.
In what is thought to be the first study of its kind, Dr Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland did the research.
He analysed relevant research and found evidence that adult men have a higher risk of hospital admission with ‘colds’. Men also have higher rates of influenza-associated deaths compared with women, regardless of underlying disease, he found.
Dr Sue also found that men are more susceptible to complications and higher mortality from many acute respiratory diseases. Some evidence supported men suffering more from viral respiratory illness than women because they have a less robust immune system.
Research has also found that pre-menopausal women are better at fighting off the common cold, thanks to a study of male and female cells.
Dr Sue’s study suggests testosterone may be to blame for suppressing men’s immune systems, while a female sex hormone boosts women’s.
However Dr Sue believes the term “man flu” is potentially problematic.
“Men may not be exaggerating symptoms but have weaker immune responses to viral respiratory viruses, leading to greater morbidity and mortality than in women,” he wrote in the BMJ.
But, he argues, there may actually be an evolutionary benefit to a less robust immune system, as it has allowed men to invest their energy in other biological processes, “such as growth, secondary sex characteristics, and reproduction.”
Photo Credit: DaveDeploige