Researchers claim the ‘man flu’ does exist

Review of scientific studies suggests ‘man flu’ may be more intense: researcher

A review of scientific literature suggests those who believe “man flu” is more intense than the female version have some evidence to back up their views.

An article published by a Canadian physician in a recent edition of the British Medical Journal reviews medical studies going back to the 17th century on the role of gender in influenza.

Dr. Kyle Sue, a family physician based in Arviat, Nunavut, found studies on mice and humans suggesting flu symptoms in men are often more acute.

His study also noted that a seasonal influenza study from 2004 to 2010 in Hong Kong found men had higher rates of hospital admission, and a decade-long American observational study that ended in 2007 suggested men had higher rates of flu-related deaths in comparison to women.

The latter study held true regardless of underlying heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory system disease, and renal disease.

In his study, Sue also notes that the term man flu has become so common that it is included in the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries, with Oxford defining it as “a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms.”

Sue writes: “Since about half the world’s population is male, deeming male viral respiratory symptoms as ‘exaggerated’ without rigorous scientific evidence could have important implications for men, including insufficient provision of care.”

Sue’s study also considered the hypothesis that testosterone may have a relationship to influenza by acting to suppress the male immune system.

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.

The physician also cites theories that evolution plays a role in men taking more rest than women for flu, and includes one hypothesis arguing that “the increase in male sickness may be a strategy important for survival since ‘it promotes energy conservation and reduces the risk of encountering predators.’”

“Further high quality research is needed to clarify other aspects of man flu,” says Sue’s article, with possible topics including the impact of environmental conditions on flu in males.

In addition, he raises the question of whether men who have the flu are more successful at finding mates.

“In other words, can the blame for man flu be shifted to the people who select these men as sexual partners rather than the men themselves?”

In his conclusion, Sue says the idea of “man flu” and suggestions males exaggerate their suffering 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,” says the journal article.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

Abbotsford Hospice Society holds community scavenger hunt

Road to Gratitude event takes place on Sunday, July 19 by the carload

New book celebrates people and events that shaped Abbotsford

Pre-sales launched for Abbotsford – A Diverse Tapestry, to be released in fall

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Man shot dead in east Abbotsford suburbs

Integrated Homicide Investigative Team called to investigate

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Fraser Valley

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

Most Read