If you have not experienced Man Flu yourself, you may have encountered it through a man in your life sniffling slightly then collapsing nearby and bemoaning all the pain he is in, while you nearly pull an eye muscle from eye-rolling so hard. Man Flu may incite the sufferer to fail to partake in simple household chores and remind you of that time you took care of the whole house while dealing with a stomach bug or headsplitting period cramps.
Now, a scientist—who is a man—has completed a study asserting that Man Flu is a real thing. According to CBC, Dr. Kyle Sue published an article in British Medical Journal detailing his study of Man Flu. "I've been criticized for exaggerating my symptoms when I had the flu," he said. "I thought. You know what? This would be an interesting topic to look into."
Sue explained, "Since about half of the world's population is male, deeming male viral respiratory symptoms as 'exaggerated' without rigorous scientific evidence could have important implications for men." Sort of like men dismissing women's period symptoms for all of eternity? Let's throw in some more biology and consider pregnancy sickness, which, like period symptoms, can affect a woman's ability to function and negatively impact her status in the work environment.
In his study of male and female mice, Sue discovered the the male mice had weaker immune systems. Sue believes this is because of men's higher lever of testosterone. "Testosterone is a hormone that actually acts as an immunosuppressant," he said, "whereas estrogen works in the opposite direction. They stimulate the immune system. So men with higher testosterone actually end up being more susceptible to viral respiratory and tend to get them worse."
Sue said that men "are suffering from something we have no control over" in regards to Man Flu and "should be given the benefit of the doubt rather than being criticized for not functioning well during the flu or the common cold." Again: women, menstruation, pregnancy.
As for the Man Flu "cure," Sue suggested, "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."