The term man flu is typically used in jest; perhaps in conversation between two women joking about how their husbands react to illness. For others, the phrase may be completely new. However, recently it has risen to the surface enough in mainstream media and water cooler discussions to draw interest from researchers.

Researchers at the University of Ottawa recently set out to essentially answer the question, do identical infections actually make males more miserable than females? The study involved injecting lab mice with molecules from bacteria. They found at the onset of infection the male mice’s body temperature fell more than females’ did. An article in Stat extrapolated this fit with the idea of the man flu.

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