The tendency of some men to complain more than their female counterparts about the sniffles and sneezes of the winter season has led to the rather derisive use of the term man flu. According to new research, at least one doctor says these complaints might be real and founded.
A Study on Man Flu
The results of Dr. Kyle Sue’s new research were published in the December 2017 edition of the British Medical Journal. These say that the differences in men’s and women’s physiology may provide an explanation for their reacting differently. In fact, men with respiratory illnesses are more likely to be hospitalized and seemingly more predisposed to die from influenza.
Dr. Sue says that, based on pieced-together studies on both animals and humans, he found evidence that the male hormone testosterone might weaken the immune system. Also, at the same time, its female component estrogen actually strengthens it.
The doctor adds that some men take twice as long as women to get well. This raises the question of whether women are less resilient than men or if they merely have milder symptoms.
Dr. Sue admits that more high-quality research is needed to know if the man flu is real. His study actually started with a two-minute presentation assignment in a graduate class the week after he had the flu and was still getting well.
A quote from Dr. Sue describes his intentions in publishing the research: “The BMJ Christmas edition is meant to be a lighthearted or humorous look at serious research. All the evidence I present is real, and it’s all peer reviewed, […]”.
However, the doctor continues by pointing out that some of the suggestions and comments he made were “tongue-in-cheek”. They were written as such “to elicit a few laughs by making use of common stereotypes.”
Evidently, more research really is needed to know if some men act wimpy when ill or if they are unfairly blamed for their afflictions. Meanwhile, the flu season looms ahead.
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