Every Year A Sickness Hits, A Sickness That Is Targeting The Male Population.
Almost annually men experience the unforeseeable. They go through the traumatic experience of what has been nicknamed the Man-Flu. Many will argue that it is simply the flu and follow it up with some suck it up kind of phrase. However, a researcher has found that there may be some science to back up the claims that cases of flu hit men harder than women.
Before our female readers all call BS, a new study by researcher Dr. Kyle Sue has claimed that there is merit to men’s claims of worse or more severe effects of the flu. According to Dr. Sue, it all has to do with Testosterone levels. The doctor claims that the heightened levels of testosterone in men may actually dampen the strength of the immune system causing men to be more severely affected by illnesses. While the estrogen and lower levels of testosterone in women may actually help to boost their immune systems making females more resilient against illnesses.
Studies also further back up Dr. Sue’s claim that men are more prone to die from the flu than their female counterparts. So next time the woman in your life is critical of your flu you can use science to back up how you feel. Equally, this is a PSA for women to give the men in their lives a little more compassion during the flu season at least.
“There need to be more studies, higher quality studies that control for other factors between men and women before we can definitely say that this difference in immunity exists,” he told the Guardian. “Is it that women are more resilient, that they are able to juggle more when they are ill, or is it that they don’t have as severe symptoms? That we are not too sure about. But I think everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt when they are ill.”
Sue also explored whether there was an evolutionary explanation for why men might experience worse symptoms than women when it comes to viral respiratory infections.
Among the theories put forward, Sue notes higher testosterone levels might offer upsides when it comes competing against other males that outweigh the possible negative impact on the immune system, or that being more under the weather keeps males bedbound and hence potentially out of the way of 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,” Sue suggests.
“I am hopeful that next time men are being criticised as exaggerating their symptoms they can say ‘hey, look at this study, there is some proof that I am not!’” he added.
But not everyone is bowled over by Sue’s arguments, including Peter Barlow, associate professor of immunology and infection at Edinburgh Napier University.
“There are a significant number of factors which can contribute to the severity of an influenza infection,” he said. “As the author of the article alludes, it is currently impossible to say whether there are sex-specific differences in susceptibility to influenza virus, or in the progression of the infection.”