For decades, men have been mercilessly mocked for exhibiting signs of “man flu” – the pathetic, snivelling, child-like state, most men revert to when faced with the flu.
However, a study by the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada conducted to determine whether men really do experience flu worse than women suggests that that may actually be the case.
According to Dr Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor at the university, men may not actually be exaggerating symptoms and could, in fact, have weaker immune responses to viral respiratory viruses than their female counterparts.
Based on the analysis of relevant research on the topic, Dr. Sue discovered evidence to indicate adult men have a higher risk of hospital admission and, worse still, a higher risk of death from the flu compared with women.
In fact, men are more susceptible to complications and there is a noticeable higher mortality rate linked to acute respiratory diseases among men. That might sound a little complicated but the bottom line is simple: blokes are a bit rubbish.
The evidence suggests men suffer more when it comes to viral respiratory illness because they have a less robust immune system than women.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr. Sue therefore argued that the entire concept of “man flu” may be a little unfair.
“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,” he writes.
Having a crap immune system isn’t all bad though – Dr. Sue reckons it’s allowed men to develop more in other biological processes like “growth, secondary sex characteristics and reproduction”.
“There are benefits to energy conservation when ill,” he added.
He added: “Lying on the couch, not getting out of bed, or receiving assistance with activities of daily living could also be evolutionary 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.”
Sounds like a good idea to us, Doc!