Men Can Have “Man Flu”

Yes, indeed, there’s such a thing as man flu. According to the research findings in the Medibank Better Health Index, 21 percent of men suffered from flu in comparison with just 19 percent of women in 2015. The Medibank Better Health Index is a study that interviews a thousand men and women every week in Australia.

Testosterone to Blame

According to Dr. Kevin Cheng, Medibank’s medical director, studies have shown that testosterone may weaken the immune response in men particularly at the cellular level. The result: Men are more likely to be susceptible to the influenza virus.

Even with regular flu vaccinations, some men with high testosterone levels may also have weaker responses to the injections. This is not to say that men with high testosterone levels should just skip on the seasonal flu vaccine since they will be hit with the virus anyway. Relatively healthy men are well-advised to always get their flu shots for better protection against the possibly deadly effects of the virus.

Not only are men more likely to be temporarily downed by the flu than women, their symptoms are also likely to be more severe. If you are a man and you have the flu, then you may well be justified in whining about your symptoms even when it seems such an unmanly thing to do.

But there’s a bit of good news, too, sort of: Women fare worse when it comes to the common cold. Apparently, estrogen increases women’s resistance against the flu virus but not as well against the comm on cold.

And if the study applies to Australian men, perhaps it may also explain man flu among American men. You have to get your flu shots, nonetheless, at places like Costco since these injections provide another layer of protection.

Tips to Lessen Impact

You can also lessen the impact of the flu virus by adopting these tips in your daily life:

  • Get sufficient sleep ideally 8 hours every night. Sleep deprivation has an adverse impact on your body’s immune system.
  • Exercise regularly. Studies have shown that better cardiovascular health can strengthen your immune system.
  • Wash your hands. You should know by now that many types of pathogens can be transmitted by hand-to-hand and hand-to-mouth contact.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your body requires water for normal biological functions including better infection resistance.
  • Eat healthy and balanced meals with more emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Your body requires the nutrients for healthy systems, too.

For now, there’s not much you can do if you are a man with the risks for getting man flu.