What Is Man Flu? Canadian Doctor Claims Men Suffer More When Sick

What Is Man Flu? Canadian Doctor Claims Men Suffer More When Sick

Although the term is commonly used (particularly in the United Kingdom), no scientific review so far has examined whether the term is appropriate or accurate, said Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, who authored the BMJ review.

Cases of "man flu" are resulting in women being less compassionate, with just half of women showing signs of sympathy compared to 66 per cent of males.

His studies mainly revolved around mice, where many showed the the female mice had stronger immune responses than the male mice. He analysed relevant research and found some evidence that adult men have a higher risk of hospital admission and higher rates of influenza-associated deaths compared with women in the same age groups, regardless of underlying disease.

In an interview to the CBC, Dr. Sue said, "The whole point of doing this article is to prove that men are not wimps".

"However there has been some research to suggest Respiratory Tract Infections - as they are known - can present more severely in men than women and the best advice for anyone affected is to rest at home, drink plenty of fluids and to take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol".

He notes there are numerous potential weaknesses in the "immunity gap" theory, including that it doesn't always consider other influences on the flu such as the rates of smoking and whether men are more or less likely to take preventive measures against the flu.

"No scientific review has examined whether the term "man flu" is appropriately defined or just an ingrained pejorative term with no scientific basis", he writes in an article published December 11 in the British Medical Journal.

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The study by Stanford University School of Medicine explains that men may actually suffer more when they are struck down with flu because the high levels of testosterone in them can weaken their immune response.

Still, Klein, who was not involved in the new study, appreciates that Sue is helping to shed light on gender health differences, "which often are ignored".

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of General Practitioners in London, agrees.

However, talking about the benefits of being ill and conserving energy, Dr. Sue wrote in his study, "Lying on the couch, not getting out of bed, or receiving assistance with activities of daily living could also be evolutionary behaviors that once protected against predators".

Important new research also highlights the supreme palliative benefits of a sofa and a tv to #ManFlu sufferers.

Some researchers have speculated that men's apparently weaker immune response to certain viruses has an evolutionary explanation, Sue said.

He says more higher-quality research needs to be done to determine conclusively whether man flu is an actual medical phenomenon.

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