The idea that men exaggerate even the most of common flu symptoms, may turn out to be a big myth. A new study by a clinical assistant professor and General Practitioner (GP) in Canada, Kyle Sue, explores whether men are wimps or just immunologically inferior.
What is man flu?
Man flu as defined in the Oxford dictionary is “a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms”.
According to Medical News Today, “The concept of man flu, as commonly defined, is potentially unjust. Men may not be exaggerating symptoms but have weaker immune responses to viral respiratory viruses, leading to greater morbidity and mortality than seen in women.”
The study essentially answers the question: Is there plausible reason for the distinction in gender when it comes to illness?
Findings of the study
According to the study, “the influenza vaccination tends to have better antibody response in women. In men, testosterone may play a role, as men with the highest levels tended to have a lower antibody response. A better antibody response may lessen the severity of flu, so it’s possible that vaccinated men get more severe symptoms than women because they don’t respond to vaccination as well.”
The study also found that “exposure to the female hormone estradiol reduced the immune response when the cells came from women, but not in cells from men. Treatment with antiestrogen drugs reduces this effect. Since flu symptoms are in large part due to the body’s immune reaction, a lessened immune response in women may translate to milder symptoms”.
The study also noted other existing studies of which one found that men were hospitalised with the flu more often than women. Another study reported more deaths among men than women due to flu.
The flu virus lasts longer in men as opposed to women because men have a harder time neutralising the virus in their bodies. The study also found that men reported taking longer to recover from flu-like illnesses than women (3 days vs. 1.5 days).
Man flu or just ordinary flu? You be the judge! Bestmed Medical Scheme offers personal medical savings accounts (PMSAs), otherwise referred to as medical savings, annual savings on the Beat2, Beat3 and Beat4 and the Pace range. So, if you need to visit your GP or just need over the counter medicine to take care of that flu. You are covered!
Medical News Today
Harvard Health Publishing