Man flu

Man flu

Man flu is a pejorative term that refers to the idea many men, when they have a cold, exaggerate and claim they have the flu — the implication being that women do not do so. Whilst a commonly used phrase in the UK, it is referred to in other cultures[1] and there is a growing scientific basis for the phrase.[2]


Popular culture

A web-based survey of readers of Nuts magazine in late 2006 stirred interest in this notion,[3] which was criticised as unscientific and unreliable.[4][5] It has been suggested that such exaggeration is possibly just as prevalent in women.[6][7] However, regardless of any scientific basis, the idea behind man flu has been present in popular culture, and has even been the source of controversy when used in advertising.[8]

Scientific basis

A study published in 2009 was widely reported as supporting the concept that "man flu" exists,[9][10] but many believe that the media were misunderstanding and/or misrepresenting the science.[11] The study had nothing to do with the flu (the experiment was related to bacterial, not viral, infection) and was performed on genetically modified mice rather than human beings, so the results are not necessarily applicable to humans.[12] [13]

According to Cambridge University researchers, evolutionary factors have led to the male system becoming more vulnerable to illness.[14]

A 2010 survey by the Office for National Statistics reported on by the BBC World Service suggested that women call in sick twice as often as men do.[15]

In 2011, a study conducted at the University of Queensland confirmed the existence of "man flu" by discovering that pre-menopausal women boasted a far more resilient immune system than men, and asserted that this was due to the biological imperative of women being "more likely to ensure the survival of the species.” [16]

See also


  1. ^ "Man Flu: A Man's Illness?". ABC News Medical Unit. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Man flu is no myth as scientists prove men suffer more from disease". The Telegraph. 
  3. ^ "'Man flu' really exists". Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  4. ^ Boynton, Petra (2006-11-25). "Are reports of "man flu" just Nuts?". British Medical Journal. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  5. ^ Boynton, Petra (2006-11-14). "“Man Flu” – manufacturing an illness to sell a magazine". Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  6. ^ "'Man flu' just as prevalent in women". The New Zealand Herald. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "'Man flu and other health myths'.". 2007-10-01. 
  8. ^ "Boots advert should not have been made". Men's Health Forum. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Alleyne, Richard (2009-05-12). "Men succumb to manflu because women have stronger immune systems, claim scientists". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  10. ^ MacRae, Fiona (2009-05-13). "Man flu is not a myth: Female hormones give women stronger immune systems". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  11. ^ "Gender differences in expression of the human caspase-12 long variant determines susceptibility to Listeria monocytogenes infection". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  12. ^ "media - Bad Science". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  13. ^ "Man flu: real or myth?". NHS. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  14. ^ MacRae, Fiona (2010-03-24). "Daily Mail - Why man flu isn't his fault". London. Retrieved 2010-03-24. 
  15. ^ "BBC - Women 'take more sick leave'". BBC News (London). 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2010-03-24. 
  16. ^ "Man flu really does exist". The Daily Telegraph (London). 2011-06-25. 

Further reading

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • man flu — n. A severe cold, mistakenly self diagnosed as the flu, particularly by a man. Also: man flu. Example Citations: Psychologist Professor Geoff Beattie says: Exaggeration is endemic. But man flu is a case of self deception. Men appear to be… …   New words

  • man flu — /ˈmæn flu/ (say man flooh) noun Colloquial (humorous) a minor cold contracted by a man who proceeds to exaggerate the symptoms enormously …   Australian English dictionary

  • man flu — noun A cold or similar ailment as suffered by a male seen as wildly exaggerating the severity of his symptoms …   Wiktionary

  • flu day — n. A day during which a school or school district is closed to prevent or reduce the spread of the flu. Example Citations: Closing schools or shutting the subways might be even more effective, because children are much more efficient than adults… …   New words

  • Flu (disambiguation) — The flu is influenza, an infectious disease of birds and mammals.Flu may also refer to: * Stomach flu or Gastroenteritis * Flushing Airport s IATA code * Avian Influenza Bird Flu * H5N1 * Man flu, a syndrome in which a viral infection in men… …   Wikipedia

  • man breasts — n. Excess fatty tissue that causes a man s chest to resemble a woman s breasts. Also: man breasts. Example Citation: Those of us with average to below average bodies need a hero. We don t have many to work with. Watching a Seinfeld rerun, we see… …   New words

  • man cave — n. An area of a house, such as a basement, workshop, or garage, where a man can be alone with his power tools and projects. Example Citations: The basement or garage has become such a special place for special man projects that DIY is even… …   New words

  • flu|gel|man — «FLOO guhl muhn», noun, plural men. = fugleman. (Cf. ↑fugleman) …   Useful english dictionary

  • Paul Christiaan Flu — (* 11. Februar 1884 in Paramaribo; † 19. Dezember 1945 in Leiden) war ein surinamischer Tropenmediziner. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu —   …   Wikipedia