Winter is synonymous with frosty mornings, overindulgence, festive cheer and a slight case of the sniffles which affects a large majority of the world’s population.
We all dread the thought of being struck down with the flu during the Christmas period, just as we dread having to sit next to that drunk aunt at the dinner table on Christmas Day. We all fear the first sneeze which could potentially leave us incapacitated and unable to attend our work Christmas party.
Despite its best efforts, the winter flu struggles to successfully cleave people down during December. Fuelled by mulled wine, a festive delirium and too many nights lying awake wondering what to buy for your mother, we become pretty resilient creatures.
Of course, by “we”, I mean women.
As women dash to the shops, their nose running faster than their feet, to pick up the Brussels sprouts (even though nobody asked for them), men across the globe can often be found curled up in a hopeless ball on the couch, warmed by a hot water bottle filled with their own tears. Yes, it’s man flu season.
We all know someone who is stricken with man flu on an annual basis. Our sympathy for those afflicted with the (deadly, as many lead you to believe) virus is limited. However, according to one doctor, we should all take those suffering with man flu a little more seriously.
Kyle Sue, a clinical professor in family medicine at the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada (don’t let this fancy title distract you from the fact that he’s a man himself), argues that man flu is scientifically real.
In a paper titled “The Science Behind ‘Man Flu’,” he explains, in depth, how men have a weaker immune system response, thus making man flu a true epidemic.
In a paper titled “The Science Behind ‘Man Flu’,” he explains, in depth, how men have a weaker immune system response, thus making man flu a true epidemic.AD_CONTENT_2
His study suggests that testosterone could be accountable for suppressing men’s immune systems, while female sex hormones boost theirs.
“The concept of a man flu, as commonly defined, is potentially unjust,” he protests. “Men may not be exaggerating symptoms but have weaker immune responses… leading to greater morbidity and mortality than seen in women.”
Meanwhile, other medical professionals are not so enamored by Sue’s study.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, clearly a very qualified woman, told The Independent that, “while there are people who believe that ‘man flu’ is an actual disease, and some men (and women) genuinely believe it is the reason they are unwell, there is little science to back this up.”
Sue has acknowledged that there may be some short-comings with his study. But, he is committed to fully investigating if man flu does exist, or if it is purely psychological. So, stay tuned for the update.
While man flu is often mocked around the world, but men’s health shouldn’t always be the butt of a joke, especially their mental health. Across the world, male suicide rates are alarmingly higher than women’s. In 2012, the male suicide rate was over three times that of female suicide rates, making it an extremely prevalent issue that needs addressing.
We wish all men the very best this festive season!