The Surprising Reason Why The Flu Is Worse For Men
Ever notice how some of the manliest men can be totally taken out by an itty bitty cold? If you've ever taken care of a guy with a respiratory infection, you're familiar with the drama: The agony, he says. The multiple requests for tea and OJ (if it’s not—cough, cough— too much trouble).
Turns out, it may not be all theatrics—there may be something to the "man flu" phenomenon after all, according to two recent studies. The first, a mouse study published in the journal Life Sciences, found that female mice were "naturally more resistant" when exposed to bacterial pneumonia, as were male mice treated with estrogen, suggesting that the female hormone may play a protective role, the Daily Mail reports.
That study was of bacteria, not viruses, like the common cold or flu. But a 2013 study from Stanford University found that the flu vaccine stimulated more protective antibodies in women compared to men, and that high-testosterone men had an even weaker response. Researchers told the Independent that this may explain not just the man flu but why men are more susceptible to infections in general.
So, crap. It's not his fault he picked up the man flu; a woman just might have fought it off more easily.
Aside from cutting him some slack next time, make sure your guy pulls out all the infection-fighting moves this year. Remind him to get a flu vaccine (testosterone doesn't negate the shot's effectiveness completely), wash his hands, drink plenty of fluids, and fill up on antioxidant-rich veggies.
He needs all the help he can get, after all.