*Insert collective groan from all women here.*
Scientists from the University of London have done the research. Turns out, men really do have more intense symptoms from viral infections than women. But does that mean THEY are actually the weaker sex?
No, according to the latest findings, we cannot use ‘man flu’ as a reason to consider men the softer sex. The reason men experience such intense symptoms of the flu (much more intense than women) is linked to their inability to give birth.
All Flu and No Breasts Make Men The Easier Target
Lead researcher Professor Francisco Ubeda explains:
“Survival of the fittest is relevant to all organisms, not just animals and humans,” explains Ubeda.
“It has already been established that men and women react to illness differently, but evidence shows that viruses themselves have evolved to affect the sexes differently.”
Are Women Flying Under the Flu Radar?
Viruses are smart little things. They’ve discovered that the best way to survive in a female body is to pass through to an infant, through breastfeeding or birth.
Women are often considered ‘hosts’ of viruses so while we may have the flu, the symptoms are less intense in order to be passed down to an infant.
However, because men cannot give birth, those cheeky viruses discovered that the best way to survive in a male’s body is through outside contact from sneezing, coughing and excessive whinging (okay, maybe whinging is just a side effect of the other symptoms).
So when your man sounds like he’s hacking up a baby elephant every time he coughs, it’s actually because the virus knows this is the best way to transfer to another person.
It’s All About the Oestrogen
Additional research has also confirmed that one of the reasons women are able to ward off many viral infections is because of the magic of oestrogen. Because men have higher levels of testosterone, and lower levels of oestrogen, they have less protection.
So perhaps man flu is a real thing. But, you have to admit, this study also kind of suggests that women are, indeed, superheroes. Not only can we grow humans, but we can also ward off attacks from viruses.
That’s another tick in our corner, ladies.