Like most men, any slight illness is immediately called man flu and gives us males the opportunity to act like we are inches away form death for a few days.
Most of the time, I speak for myself, I might just be a combination of lazy and tired However, there is growing evidence that man flu is real.
In a special Christmas issue of the BMJ, a Canadian academic set out to discover whether males really experience worse flu symptoms than females.
Dr Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, concluded that “men may not be exaggerating symptoms” after all.
Dr Sue said further higher quality research is needed but “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.”
Sue suggested that there are also benefits to energy conservation when ill, which may be linked to human evolution. He said: “Lying on the couch, not getting out of bed, or receiving assistance with activities of daily living could also be evolutionarily behaviours that protect against predators.
“Perhaps now is the time for male friendly spaces, equipped with enormous televisions and reclining chairs, to be set up where men can recover from the debilitating effects of man flu in safety and comfort.”
It appears that something in the genetic make up of women also makes them able to cope better when the flu virus strikes. Lead author of the study, Sabra Klein, from Johns Hopkins University, said that the female sex hormone actually helps to reduce the replication of the influenza virus in cells.