New Year didn’t happen for me this year. From the Saturday after Christmas to the following Sunday, my body was involved in a titanic struggle to overcome the most deadly of diseases: man flu. Yes, I can feel the sympathy flooding in. I don’t know why but for some reason man flu, out of all the deadly infections, is treated with amusement, if not ridicule, from a certain segment of society. It is very odd. I’ve never heard people say “he’s making a meal out of this ebola virus”, or “it’s lucky men don’t have babies, the fuss my Alf is making about the plague”, yet these are the very same phrases men hear daily when combatting man flu.
To help overcome these unnecessary prejudices, here are some facts* about man flu.
1. Man flu is not the same as the common cold
Survey’s have shown that half the population believe man flu is just another term for the common cold. This is not true. The male immunity system is over 50% more effective at battling viruses than its female counterpart, meaning only the most virulent, and potentially deadly bugs make it through. However, this is good news for women, because when an outbreak occurs many females succumb to the milder form of the disease, and in the same way as having cow pox gives immunity to small pox, having the milder form of man flu gives females immunity to the more aggressive version. Sadly, men do not have this option and therefore have to suffer the virus in full.
2. Man flu alters brain chemistry
Earlier this year, a team of scientists from Zurich lead by the renowned Dr Weicheier, published a paper in Nature magazine on their discovery that the brain chemistry of a patient suffering from man flu is subtly different from that of a non-sufferer. The effects of the altered brain chemistry were similar to those seen in the victims of brain trauma, changing the patient’s personality leading to bouts of snappishness, grumpiness and a general bad mood. The good news was that the study showed that in over 80% of survivors, these effects are short-lived. The number may in fact be higher but for some patients in the study it was difficult to judge a significant difference in the before and after behaviour.
3. Man flu attacks the spinal cord
Another common symptom of man flu is the loss of movement in the legs. This is because the virus attacks the sheath around the spinal cord, causing swelling at the base of the spine which blocks the brain signals required to activate leg muscles. This is why when a sufferer says that they cannot get out of bed to get a drink, they are telling the truth. For reasons as yet unknown, this symptom can be sporadic, coming and going at random times during the infected period, causing patient anxiety when they are told off for being able to walk to get the remote control but then can’t get up to make a cup of tea.
4. Watching favourite DVD’s can help alleviate the symptoms
While it may be seen a s a cliché, scientists have recently discovered that watching DVD’s stimulate the pleasure centres of the brain, helping to alleviate some of the symptoms of man flu. The study, which conformed to the Loreal standard of 31 participants, showed that patients showed particular progress while watching films by Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal .
5. Man flu is real
And just in case there are some of you that still believe man flu doesn’t exist, here are articles in the Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Daily Mirror on a recent breakthrough proving it does (and none of them are dated April 1st).
*These facts may not in fact be facts but opinions, flights of fancy and occasionally lies – except for point 5 which is real. The author is not a trained professional and at no point should these facts be seen as the truth. If you are suffering from man flu, please visit doctor.