Flu, colds : yes, men take more expensive

Health 17 December, 2017

The Agony in the garden of Gethsemane, by Francesco Trevisani (1740)

Published the 17.12.2017 at 13: 00


Keywords :

grippeman fluimmunitéDifférence man femmeBMJrhumesystème immunitairehormones

“I’m going to burst. “Who has not heard these words, grommelés a voice from beyond the grave from under the duvet ? In the Face of the slightest cold, the men have the reputation to make it tons. The concept is very much alive in the anglo-saxon culture, even has a name in the language of Shakespeare : man flu, or ” influenza, human “. A few wimps, no opportunists, men surjoueraient such an Italian footballer brushed into the surface.

Maybe should make a spell to this concept infamous. No doubt stung by the teasing of his wife, Dr. Kyle Sue, assistant professor of medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), took on the topic in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal (in English). As the holidays approach, the prestigious british magazine, has a habit of evoking topics to whimsical, mixing irony and rigour medical.

“The concept of the “flu man”, as defined commonly, is potentially unfair, ” concludes the doctor, a trifle sardonically. “It may be that men do not exaggerate their symptoms, but they have a immune response low to respiratory viruses, which leads to a morbidity and a mortality rate superior to that of women. “

Dirty trick immune

In fact, the men seem to be much more susceptible to infections, be they bacterial, viral or parasitic, both from the point of view of the prevalence and severity of symptoms. Epidemiological studies show that men are more likely to die of the flu than women, with a mortality rate higher than 50% between 50 and 64 years, according to data from the united states (in English).

We also know that men respond less well to vaccines, such as those for influenza and yellow fever. Conversely, women are much more affected by autoimmune diseases, related to an immune response that is excessive and chronic, such as allergic asthma or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The immune systems of men and women have thresholds of reactivity different.

It is hormonal, sweetheart

As often, the sex hormones are at the bench of the accused. Studies on mice show that the female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) have an effect immune booster while testosterone tends on the contrary to lower the threshold of immune reactivity. This is true also for the innate response – first line of defense against the seasonal flu – that for the adaptive response, in-game after a vaccination, when the pathogen is already known.

In short, everything leads us to believe that men are simply more likely to drool when they have a cold or the flu, play divas in the article of death. And the good Dr Sue concluded in these terms. “It might be time to put up “man-friendly”, equipped with huge tv sets and rocking chairs, so that men might recover from the devastating effects of the influenza of man in all security and comfort. “An axis of public health to develop emergency.