Does man flu really exist or is it just a figment of their imagination?
Men are finally being vindicated by new studies that show the condition actually exists.
Jon Kisch is lying on the couch dipping stale brioche into coffee and watching endless re-runs of TV show Heroes when The House of Wellness calls.
“I’m dying,” he insists, before asking for both back-lighting and a robotic voice changer – even though his story is for print, not television (he later allows us to name him in exchange for a can of soup).
Men are more likely to overrate their symptoms, which doesn’t mean they’re exaggerating but that they truly perceive things to be much worse than they really are.
Jon is three days into his second bout of “man flu” this year and projects he will suffer at least five more before the year draws to a close.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” Jon sniffles.
“I used to have a much stronger immune system and now I become easily incapacitated, so that a small cold takes on a life of its own until the only thing I can do is just lie here and watch television.”
He’s aware of how it all sounds and says he’s certain he will get ribbed about his condition the minute he rejoins society, but insists man flu is far more serious than any of us let on.
“I can laugh along with the jokes until a certain point, but I bristle at the undertones that manly men don’t get sick, and I can’t see that it’s any great laughing matter if I’m physically too unwell to play with my daughter, or carry on with my work.”
What the research says about man flu
If you’ve ever had a dig at your sick partner or perhaps sniggered at Jon as you read about him, consider this; researchers have discovered that not only is man flu a real phenomenon, but they may suffer more than women.
In a study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, researchers from John Hopkins University found the antiviral properties of oestrogen protects women from more aggressive symptoms of the influenza A virus by reducing its ability to replicate in female cells.
Without a similar buffer, men are more likely to feel the full brunt of the virus – a theory backed up by an earlier study by Royal Holloway, University of London, which suggests evolution may have engineered such viruses to go easier on women so they wouldn’t transmit the infection to the next generation via pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
And the reason men are inclined to be a little more vocal in their suffering?
Researchers at the University of Glasgow say men and women have different thresholds for perceiving symptoms, particularly those clustered together as in the form of the common cold or man flu.
Researchers suggest men are more likely to overrate their symptoms, which doesn’t mean they’re exaggerating but that they truly perceive things to be much worse than they really are.
Not up to giving your man much sympathy? Tell him to visit manflu.info, an online portal where men can swap man flu “survivor” stories.
Written by Dilvin Yasa