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The "Man Flu" is a Myth

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If you think your guy acts like a child when he's got the sniffles, this will surprise you.

man sneezing

Your guy is strong, assertive, and fearless. But when he's got the sniffles, he's reduced to a helpless, bawled up, whining patient -- and suddenly there's one more kid in the house.

But despite the old adage that men act like babies when they're sick, turns out it's actually women who can't handle the common cold.

⋅85% of women admit exaggerating their symptoms in order to gain sympathy, compared to just 76% of men, according to research conducted by Actimel, a probiotic drink company.

⋅What's more, up to a third of women say they feel "more emotional" when struck with illness compared to just one in 10 men.

⋅But we're not so helpless -- while it's true women complain more about having the flu, they're much better at self-diagnosing their symptoms, boosting their immune systems with good nutrition, and taking steps to avoid getting ill in the future, compared to less than one in five men.

Experts say the results are surprising since men are known to complain a lot when they're sick.

"Women tend to talk more about their feelings generally, but men it seems, vocalize more when they're sick -- that's where the myth around 'man flu' originated," says Gladeana McMahon, consultant psychotherapist. "So it's surprising that these results show women to be the biggest complainers when it comes to colds and flu."

Tell us -- do you complain more than your husband when you're sick?


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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
ashley December 19, 2008, 7:17 AM

I try not to complain so much. Except when I get tonsilitis about twice a year and then I am completely helpless for about 3 days. My husband is the BIGGEST baby. And he is always complaining about something being wrong so now even when he is really sick, I find it hard to feel any sympathy for him.

Monica December 19, 2008, 9:50 AM

I don’t usually complain about my illnesses because I am the one in charge of treating everyone when they are sick, so who will take care of me. My husband complains constantly about a variety of symptoms, none of which can be confirmed by clinical testing. We go from specialist to specialist, never finding anything.

Fran December 19, 2008, 3:06 PM

Did the researchers really think the men would admit to exaggerating symptoms? Besides, we women might complain and exaggerate, but we still end up doing the chores, taking care of the kids and other things we normally have to get done. :-)

Anonymous December 19, 2008, 3:23 PM

“while it’s true women complain more about having the flu, they’re much better at self-diagnosing their symptoms, boosting their immune systems with good nutrition, and taking steps to avoid getting ill in the future, compared to less than one in five men.”
so we avoid getting sick at all costs because we know we’ll still have to do all our normal duties, but a man will lay around and not feel bad about being sick at all. that is the true source of man flu.
and any complaining I do about symptoms is I can’t believe they are interfering with my regular activities, not woe is me, feel bad for me.

Ninja January 1, 2009, 10:23 AM

I also find that if I am arguing with my husband, he will either develop a mysterious injury or ailment in order to garner sympathy and make me forgive him for whatever stupid thing he’s done/said/didn’t do or say…am I the only one??


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