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‘Man flu’ is real: Research says men experience worse symptoms

Don’t accuse men of overreacting when they’re sick — the “man flu” is real, according to a new study.

Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor in family medicine with the Memorial University of Newfoundland, published an article in the British Medical Journal contending that men seem to experience worse symptoms of cold an flu than women.

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“I searched PubMed/MedLine, EMBASE, Cochrane, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar using combinations and variants of terms ‘man’/’male,’ ‘woman’/’female,’ ‘gender’/‘sex,’ ‘influenza’/‘flu,’ ‘viral,’ ‘respiratory,’ ‘common cold,’ ‘difference,’ ‘comparison,’ ‘intensive care,’” Sue said of his method of research. “I read the abstracts of all articles found and narrowed articles down by relevance. References in each article were then hand searched to ensure comprehensiveness.”

>> Related: 7 ways to prevent your child from getting the flu this season

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Sue’s somewhat tongue-and-cheek study also noted that U.S. research showed men had higher rates of deaths linked to flu compared to women of the same age.

“I do think that the research does point towards men having a weaker immune response when it comes to common viral respiratory infections and the flu,” Sue told The Guardian. “This is shown in the fact that they (have) worse symptoms, they last longer, they are more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die from it.”

In Ohio, for example, the flu seems to be impacting populations earlier than usual this year. The Ohio Department of Health said the state is above the five-year average for the number of cases reported at this time of year and “significantly higher” than the same time last year. 

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