December 28, 2017 – Man Flu


Anchor lead:  Do men really have a worse time of it when they get the flu than women? Elizabeth Tracey reports

We’ve all seen the caricatures. A man with the flu seriously acts as if he’s about to die, while a woman with the same illness may pop a couple of pills and soldier on. Now a new study suggests that there may actually be a biological basis for this difference. Patricia Davidson, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, comments.

Davidson: I think it really speaks to sex-based differences. For generations we’ve talked about nature-nurture issues but I thought that was really fascinating that men respond differently to inflammatory activators, and also it really made me think about in my area of nursing in cardiovascular care where women’s symptomatology in acute coronary syndromes is different to men’s.  :28

Davidson quips that her own husband asserts that he’d need to be on a ventilator to get any sympathy when he gets the flu, but states that further exploration of these sex-based differences is an area of ongoing active research, and will no doubt yield fruit, and perhaps compassion, for all. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.