Dr. Kyle Sue, a family medicine professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, is the hero who brought this research to life. “Men may not be exaggerating symptoms but have weaker immune responses to viral respiratory viruses, leading to greater morbidity and mortality than seen in women,” he wrote on his findings.
Sue attributes the lowered illness tolerance to higher levels of testosterone suppressing the immune system. The reason for our decreased immunity is suggested to be evolutionary. According to Sue’s study, cavemen fell ill easier in order to stop them going hunting when they weren’t in peak condition as they would me more likely to “die from trauma before an infection kills them”. This almost seems to imply that getting sick easily became a defense mechanism for our ancestors, keeping them at home in the cave away from danger when they were weakened.
“Lying on the couch, not getting out of bed or receiving assistance with activities of daily living could also be evolutionary behaviours that protect against predators,” said Dr Sue.
This study is one of the first legitimate insights into the validity of ‘man flu’, and while the psychological aspects of male illness are yet to be studied, we suggest bookmarking this study as validation the next time you start to feel under the weather.
Related: 5 Steps To Avoiding The Flu