The Man Flu: The Most Severe of All Illnesses this Winter


man-fluThe man flu.   Most of us have experienced it a time or two, whether it was our husband, partner, father, or maybe even your son complaining about being sick and just maybe exaggerating their illness.  It’s a common joke that the Man Flu is the most severe of all illnesses, but behind every joke, there is a little truth.  Am I right ladies?


The kiss of death

Man flu struck my house twice already this season. The first time, I will give it to my husband, he was actually sick.  I had the bags under my eyes from being up all night with him to prove it. But most recently, it started in much the same way it always does.  My husband will say, “I woke up with a tickle in my throat, I’m pretty sure I’m getting sick.”

You see, the man flu is not so much an actual sickness, but more a feeling that he is sick and must “act” that way.  So I diagnosed him once again, last week my husband had the man flu.  As most women know, one of the side affects of the Man Flu is their inability to function.

He said he was up all night coughing.  At 3 am, I finally convinced him to take something (mostly cause I was sick of hearing about it) and let him sleep until almost 9.  In the meantime, I got up, worked out, got the kiddo up, fed him breakfast, got him ready, took him to swim class, took him on a play date, came home to feed him lunch, ran to the grocery, made four batches of chocolate chip cookies, one banana bread and started setting the table for the dinner party for 21 we were having the next day.  Man flu strikes again.


Man Flu gets medical

The Man Flu has become such a hot button topic that the Indianapolis Star recently wrote about this illness.  In the article, the author points out that a medical researcher recently did a study to prove that Man Flu is an actual medical condition.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  You can read the whole study here, but as you might suspect the medical researcher was a man. Duh.

The Indy Star article starts by saying, “Man flu” is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms.”  (See even the Oxford Dictionary knows what’s up.)

To which the researcher, Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor in family medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, says this, “The concept of man flu, as commonly defined, is potentially unjust.”

Ha! Do you think Dr. Sue is married?  I would love to read his spouses response to his research.

Sue goes on to say, “Some evidence clearly supports men having higher morbidity and mortality from viral respiratory illness than women because they have a less robust immune system.”

Fine, ok Dr. Sue, we get it.  I will give you medical reasoning, but maybe women are just tougher?  We have the babies, some of us work full time and we continue keep life organized…sickness or not.  You don’t see the papers writing about us do ya?


Medical proof be dammed

Even though I probably shouldn’t disagree science, Dr. Sue really loses me on his final point. He closes the study by suggesting the Man Flu may not be an exaggeration at all and that our men may just be in need of “male friendly spaces” to recover appropriately.

I’m. Not. Joking. Read on.

“There are benefits to energy conservation when ill,” Sue said. “Lying on the couch, not getting out of bed, or receiving assistance with activities of daily living could also be evolutionarily behaviors that protect against predators.” 

Oh Kyle. Grasshopper. You have much to learn. (After that remark, we are now on a first name basis.)

Us ladies are well aware of how to recover from illness.  We, however, may never get that full nights sleep. Or the uninterrupted quiet time without someone yelling, mom!  Or even that soft couch to lay on while watching Real Housewives all day.  But ya know what, you’re right. When Man Flu hits our house yet again this year (because I’m sure it will) I will be sure to tell my husband to go ahead and take a load off because we have the medical research to back it up and Dr. Sue said so.

No worries though, I’m not bitter.  I will just be over here with the Woman Flu.  Where you would never suspect I’m running a 101 degree temp, coughing up a lung, suffering from severe lack of sleep and a nose that won’t stop running.  I got this.  Oh and Dr. Sue, you don’t need medical research to diagnose this one, I just did it for you.