The Oxford Dictionary describes ‘Man Flu’ for a man with a common cold that exaggerates the severity of his symptoms.

Men will be happy to know that ladies are losing ground to joke about ‘Man Flu’, as Dr Kyle Sue from the Memorial University Newfoundland in Canada conducted a literature review for the British Medical Journal, suggesting there is scientific evidence that ‘Man Flu’ is real.

Dr Sue claimed animal studies on mice showed females have a stronger immune system than males. He justified this with the reasoning that animal studies on mice reflect a similar physiology to humans. He also suggested the studies indicated gender hormones having a direct connection to the immune system.

Dr Sue also claimed that studies of influenza vaccination suggested women are more responsive to it then man.

He said energy conservation is a necessary measure for men to recover from illnesses.

“Lying on the couch, not getting out of bed, or receiving assistance with activities of daily living could also be evolutionarily behaviours that protect against predators”, he advised.

What other researchers say.

Dr Sue’s review is backed by other research from American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, which shows ‘estrogen’, the female sex hormone, has anti-viral effects against the influenza A virus.

The researchers took samples of nasal cells from both men and women. They exposed those cells to the virus, as well as estrogen and estrogen-like compounds applied in hormone therapy.

Findings showed that the hormone compounds reduced the flu virus’ ability to replicate in the cells of women, but not for men.

These anti-viral properties of estrogen can protect women from the more aggressive symptoms of the virus.

Lead researcher, Dr Sabra Klein, suggests men are more susceptible to the flu. They can also experience more severe symptoms of the illness.

Dr Klein told the Sydney Morning Herald that,“other studies have shown that estrogen have antiviral properties against HIV, Ebola and hepatitis viruses”.

Whatever your take on ‘Man Flu’ is, the reality is both men and women should look after their own health.