NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The next time a guy you know gets the flu you may want to show him a little more sympathy than you normally would.
A new study shows that men actually get sicker than women, and suffer more.
Experts say a flu filled winter could be on the way.
“This year they are predicting that it’s going to be a particularly bad year,” said Dr. Jake Deutsch, clinical director at CURE Urgent Care. “That’s bad news.”
As CBS2’s Maurice Dubois reported, it’s especially bad news for men.
A new study from Stanford University School of Medicine found that the flu vaccine is more effective in women than in men, and for women who do get the flu, the study found they are better at fighting the virus off.
In other words, men get sicker than women.
“Are men less equipped to deal with infection? Technically, yes,” Dr. Deutsch said.
The reason, according to the study that was conducted on mice, is the female sex hormone estrogen.
“The female mice that produced estrogen produced an enzyme and that enzyme was able to help them fight infection,” Dr. Deutsch said.
Emergency care doctor, Dr. Deutsch said it may be about simple evolution.
“There’s an idea there that estrogen, which is native to women’s endocrine system, is there because part of their role is to be nurturers. They have to take care of not only themselves, but their families,” he explained.
Some women say “finally” there’s evidence backing up what they already know, men are bigger babies when it comes to getting sick.
“They seem to whine more and they seem to want to ride it out longer,” one woman said.
“They think they don’t need help and they don’t accept help, and they don’t take medicine,” another woman said.
Of course, not everyone agrees.
“Naaa, not really,” one man said.
“Anecdotally, I can say that a lot of times guys are wimpier when it comes to being sick,” Dr. Deutsch said.
The good news, Dr. Deutsch said, the study will likely raise the possibility of new immune boosting drugs.
“I think there is the possibility of somehow delivering the key elements of estrogen to men in a safe way in order to activate that enzyme,” Dr. Deutsch said.
Doctors do not recommend that men take estrogen supplements, but they do suggest other ways of boosting immunity, including getting plenty of sleep and vitamin C.
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