‘Man flu’, a phrase with a negative connotation. Is there man flu? Why is there man flu? According to Oxford English Dictionary, man flu is defined as “a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms.” It means that this phrase has even made it into the biggest and reliable dictionary, Oxford English dictionary.
According to Wikipedia, man flu is a pejorative phrase that refers to the idea that men, when they have a bad cold, exaggerate and claim they have the flu. This phrase is usually a phrase from U.K and Ireland.
This phrase appears for the phenomenon where men seem to suffer disproportionate symptoms when they get the sniffles.
Last study in 2009, man flu does not exist, but many believe that the media were misunderstanding the science.
Interestingly, medical science itself consider on the subject this week with newest study from Canada that suggests men may actually have a legitimate complaint.
In conclusion, man flu may be real.
Some studies have shown proves why man flu is real
According to the newest research study published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal), a scientific publication, evidence suggests that men may actually get sicker than women when it comes to influenza, respiratory infections, and a common disease, the common cold. It means that men easier got flu-related symptoms, they last longer, and they are more likely to be hospitalized and more likely die from it.
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Dr. Kyle sue conducted this study. Dr. Sue is from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. He analyzed and compared all the medical data he could find on gender differences in severity of cold and flu symptoms. According to him, his study suggests that there may be an evolutionary basis to the phenomenon called man flu.
Data form various historical studies; Dr. Sue found that men have higher risk of hospital admission than women. Besides, men also have higher rates of flu-related deaths compared with women in the same age groups.
Men get complication from respiratory diseases and tend to suffer from more viral illnesses easily. When we considered, the data support previous studies that suggest that men generally have a less robust immune system than women.
Hormones influences immune system
Dr. Sue said in a media Seeker, “Some of the evidence looks at how male and female immune systems react. Including how the immune system are affected by certain gender hormones (testosterone and estrogen hormone) when faced with common viral respiratory infections. The higher the testosterone levels, the worse the immune response; the higher the estrogen level, the stronger the immune response.”
Further analysis of the data revealed that this difference (between men and women) disappears at menopause in women. It is also different if the female’s ovaries are removed for certain conditions.
Dr. Sue conclusion is, it appears that testosterone hormone in men may suppress the immune system, while estrogen hormone in women may enhance it. Gender hormone play important role in immune system!
The phrase ‘man flu’ may be defined unjust. Dr. Sue said that men may not be exaggerating symptoms, but they have weaker immune respond toward respiratory viruses. This is based on the data that shown that men get greater morbidity and mortality than seen in women.
Sue’s findings in The BMJ represent the final stage in a research project with rather humble beginnings.
The study intended for Dr. Kyle master’s degree program
His finding actually did not take a serious. The study started as part of his master’s degree program. Sue said, “I was told I needed to make a two-minute presentation to my classmates on any topic of interest. It just so happened that I had had the flu the week prior. It was still recovering from it (the topic of man flu seemed possibly entertaining).”
“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, but some of my comments and suggestions were tongue-in-cheek to try to elicit a few laughs by making use of common stereotypes.” Dr. Sue said.
Dr. Sue has already received many feedbacks from men and women.
“Men were more likely to call me their hero. I’ve also received a lot of angry messages from people who think this study is misogynistic or sexist. Unfortunately, my use of stereotypes in my jokes didn’t help my cause.” Said Dr. Sue again.
The study could has potential to change the medical world
Sue said that the study actually had potential to make a significant impact on the medical world.
“If an immune gap does exist, does it mean we need to dose our vaccinations differently?” he asked. “What about medications? Many studies are done on men only, in order to avoid giving medications to pregnant women — can those studies be applicable to all genders, or are we wrong to do that?”
Sue said he hopes his research will bring about more rigorous studies.
“A big caveat is that there still needs to be a lot of high-quality research to determine whether this phenomenon is real,” he remarked. “My research suggests it, but certainly is not definitive.”
In any case, roughly half of the world’s population owes Dr. Sue a little gratitude.
“At the very least,” he said, “if a man finds himself being criticized for exaggerating symptoms, he can point to this research to say, ‘Hey, maybe this is just physiology.’”