We Were Right all Along: The Man Flu is Real

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Men don’t really like to be sick. With a genetic code for strength and endurance, a build biologically stronger than female counterparts, and a socially imposed drive to be a provider, sick doesn’t work for men. Notoriously, men tend to be overly undertaken when they fall under the weather. We don’t like not feeling good and we have a tendency to make sure everyone knows just how sick we are. When a flu or a particularly bad cold knocks us down, we become more vulnerable than usual. We ask for our needs to be met in every way we need them to be- if we want chicken soup with star shaped noodles instead of chicken soup with regular noodles, we’re going to ask for it. As a result, this kind of sick-experience has been dubbed “The Man Flu” or “The Man Cold”. Problematically, there is a bit of shame attached to the label. We are constantly accused of “overreacting” or “being dramatic” when we are sick. Even the Oxford English Dictionary got in on the assumption, defining the “Man flu” as a “cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms”.

With great distress, we have lived knowing that nobody understands just how sick we feel when we get sick. Though it has carried on as a mysterious phenomenon, science, doing what it does, has proven that we were right all along. Men experience their illnesses more strongly. Let it be known: The man flu is real- mostly.

Men’s Fitness reports on recent research conducted by Dr. Kyle Sue of the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada. Sue reviewed many existing studies on disease and illness. Some of his findings include:

  • Men are more likely to be admitted to the hospital than women with the flu
  • More men die of the flu, or “influenza-associated deaths” than women
  • Men are more likely to develop “respiratory illnesses and complications” than women

Sue stated that “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.” Though Sue’s research does not completely validate the “Man Flu” it does lend light to the fact that men have a harder time with the common cold or flu than women.

Instead of just leaving on the note that men are more likely to die from the flu, Although that’s the fact, we could end with a “so stay active, healthy, with good hygiene” message.

Learning how to take care of yourself, be in good health, and live with sustainable recovery requires sustainable change. Tree House Recovery, a men’s residential treatment program in Portland, Oregon, helps men find freedom from addiction by creating sustainable recovery. For information on our programs, call us today: (503) 850-2474

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