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Is the Man Flu Real?

By Randi Morse

One of the more unfortunate things about this time of year are the viruses that seem to be very difficult to avoid. I feel like it doesn't matter how many times I wash my hands or clean my counters, I am destined to get sick at least once a year during the winter months. This year, I was unfortunate enough to get stuck with a gastro bug. About a week later my husband came down with the same virus. I think it was when he was laying in bed whining to me about how cold he was and how bad he felt that I thought about the mythical "man flu."

What Is the Man Flu?

What is the man flu? This is a sort of tongue-in-cheek name that has been given to viruses that affect men. The joke is that men and women can have the same virus but men will complain more about their illness than women will.  It is believed that women handle illnesses better than men, continuing to take care of their families even though they are sick, while men will lay on the couch acting like the world is coming to an end. But is there anything to it? Is there scientific evidence to prove that men are hit harder by viruses than women?

Man Flu Research

The University of Ottawa conducted research on adult male and female mice. Both male mice and female mice were injected with the same bacteria that can cause an illness that is very much like our human flu. The scientists discovered that the male mice who were injected had symptoms that were more severe, and that it took longer for them to recover. Another study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health discovered that when scientists implanted progesterone in female mice, they fared far better with their flu symptoms than the mice who did not have the progesterone injected into them.

The Results

So what does this mean? Does this mean that men truly do have worse symptoms than women when it comes to the flu? There is still a great deal of work and research to be done when it comes to the man flu, but the research that has already been completed seems to indicate that men do have a more difficult time with the flu than women. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Orange Park, Fla.

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