It’s official… manflu doesn’t exist! But according to new research it should be renamed woMAN flu as the fairer sex turn out to be the worst winter whingers.
Men are less likely to create a fuss or crave attention when they fall ill and it is in fact women who are the biggest moaners. Most admit to exaggerating their cold and flu symptoms just for attention or to get a day off work.
Consultant psychotherapist Gladeana McMahon said: “Women tend to talk more about their feelings generally, but men it seems, appear to vocalise more when they’re sick – that’s where the myth around man flu originated. So it’s surprising that these results show women to be the biggest complainers when it comes to colds and flu. Maybe it is more a case of needing more recognition for what they do and, if they can’t get that on a day to day basis, then looking for a bit of sympathy when they’re sick is a way of making up for this”.
When it comes to recovery time, women were also found to take significantly longer to return to full health. 14% of men said they were usually back to their old selves in a day or two while a quarter of female respondents said it could take them 8-10 days to get back on their feet, according to research by Actimel.
However, with regards to prevention and cold/flu management, women take the lead in supporting their body’s defences with more men heading straight to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle (74% vs 70%). Women are more proactive and twice as likely (31% vs 17%) to take matters into their own hands by eating the right things and self-diagnosing.
It’s widely acknowledged that a healthy diet is essential to help preventing colds and flu. In fact, the evidence is increasing for consumption of foods such as zinc, vitamin C, garlic and probiotic yogurt drinks to help strengthen the body’s defences and in turn make it easier to fight off viruses.
Leading nutritionist Fiona Hunter commented: “People need to take extra care in winter. A good healthy diet is essential to help prevent colds and flu. The evidence is increasing for consumption of foods such as zinc, vitamin C, garlic and probiotic yogurt drinks. These can help strengthen the body’s defences and in turn make it easier to fight off viruses.”
The months between November and January are when more than half of us say we’re likely to suffer from colds and flu’s so it’s an appropriate time to think about what steps we can take to reduce the risk of falling ill.
Professor John Oxford, cold and flu expert from The Royal London Hospital, had this common sense advice to offer those wishing to sidestep the dreaded lurgy this winter: “The best way to prevent either ‘man’ or ‘woman’ flu is probably to sleep in a separate bedroom to a suffering partner. This close proximity is a sure way to spread the virus, much more so than a person just coughing or sneezing on a train. In this setting, holding an infected handrail is a more likely method of transmitting the virus.”