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Man Flu Might Be a Thing, But That Doesn't Mean Men Can Just Wimp Out on Us

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Brace yourselves, ladies. What I'm about to tell you is going to leave your husband with so many "I told you so" comments, you won't know what to do.

Here goes: According to research published in the British Medical Journal, the notorious "man flu" is an actual thing. It seems that Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, was "tired of being accused of overreacting" about his flu symptoms and set out to prove that man flu was indeed a genuine ailment. After compiling several studies done on mice and human behavior, Sue found that — while it may seem like our husbands are exaggerating about their symptoms — men are more susceptible to complications from being ill than women. This is just great, right?

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During the curation process, Sue found that males not only have a greater risk of being admitted to the hospital, but are more likely to suffer from an influenza-associated death when compared with women. He also found that men are more susceptible to suffering complications, or in some cases death, from severe respiratory diseases.

“I do think that the research does point towards men having a weaker immune response when it comes to common viral respiratory infections and the flu,” Sue told The Guardian. “This is shown in the fact that they [have] worse symptoms, they last longer, they are more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die from it.”

The 'Man Flu' is real and it's here to ruin our lives.

In one particular study, researchers analyzed the cells of 63 "healthy" individuals, only to find that premenopausal women had a stronger immune response to viruses than the men who were examined. In addition, researchers in a different study found that the female sex hormone strengthens women's' immune systems, whereas testosterone was linked to suppressing the male immune systems.

I mean, come on! We knew we were tough, but the fact that our powers are now backfiring is a serious bummer. After all, this news just gives the men in our lives one more reason to stay home curled up underneath the blankets, while we run through the house trying to herd the kids together, make dinner, finish the laundry, and prepare for work tomorrow morning. And while the idea that man flu — recognized by the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries as “a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms" — is real may come as quite a shock, don't worry: We have a few pointers on just how to handle it.

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4 Tips for Battling 'Man Flu'

As much as we'd like to believe that we are Wonder Women, we are humans — but then again, so are men, and they should know how to handle colds like normal adults. Take my husband-to-be, for example. Whenever he gets even the slightest of headaches, he calls out of work. I mean, if you saw him curled up in a tiny ball, begging for me to turn the lights out before I leave to go to work, you'd think the guy was on his deathbed.

With the weather getting chillier, his 'Man flu' symptoms have become so frequent that I have the routine down pat. Here is what you need to do to help the guy in your life battle his (no doubt very serious case of) man flu.

1. Tell him to stay hydrated.

As we all know, stocking up on fluids is important. But don't volunteer to bring him a glass of water; tell him he needs to get it himself. The only problem with this is that he may (and will most likely) leave the kitchen a complete wreck, because getting a little bit of water or juice out of the fridge might be too much too ask of someone who is oh so sick.

(Photo Credit: Giphy)

2. Remind him that medicine is important.

Like children, men are stubborn about medicine, so you may have to add a seriousness to your tone so that he'll actually listen. If he complains later about his "headache" or whatever-ache, remind him again to take his meds.

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3. Reward him with a kiss on the forehead.

If you've done the previous steps correctly, he should be able to sniff out what you're trying to do — force him to take care of himself. As a reward for grasping the fact that he needs to grow up and be the man that he is, feel his head when he asks you to. This may seem counterproductive, but once you've lightly scolded him, he'll need to build his self-esteem back up. Whatever you do, DO NOT tell your man-flu victim that you think his "fever" is getting worse (I mean, unless it actually is). It won't be worth the hassle.

(Photo Credit: Giphy)

4. Lastly, just love him.

While I'm sure your husband is just as childish as mine is, it wouldn't hurt to show him a little extra love. After all, men can tend to be clueless when it comes to their health, and that makes it our unspoken duty to take care of them. I mean, when we're sick they take care of us, right? Oh, wait...

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