Recently, I contracted a severe head cold that turned into a sinus infection. It took about a week of supplements and Tylenol to overcome how horrible I felt. Now my husband has the same head cold.
Man flu has officially arrived at my house.
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What is man flu, you ask?
While it’s not a technical definition, man flu is used to describe a man that exaggerates a mild cold. A minor seasonal allergy, virus or cold is described as a life or death situation by the man suffering from the minor sickness.
In all reality, being sick from anything sucks. It’s never a pleasant experience.
Although I don’t expect my husband to completely ignore his symptoms and not take care of himself, I’m left feeling insensitive toward his man flu.
I’ve already experienced the same head cold he has now. Been there. Done that. With all the same symptoms. Yes, it’s miserable. But I lived through it.
My husband on the other hand feels like he’s literally knocking on death’s door.
I understand the reasons why he called in sick to work. You can’t do your job when you have vertigo and can’t breathe. But is man flu at all real?
Experienced by men all over the world, man flu is becoming a common term to describe any man with a minor cold.
As men suffer from a cold or flu, women everywhere roll their eyes becoming irritated by every groan made. We try to be as sensitive and compassionate as possible when it comes to our husband’s being sick. But, everyone has their breaking point.
Science is starting to examine whether the term “man flu” is a real thing. Or are women simply insensitive to male suffering?
What Does Research Say About Man Flu?
In 2017, the BMJ (British Medical Journal) found respiratory illness affects men and women differently.
The study further stated men are not exaggerating virus symptoms. Instead, men possess weaker immune system responses leading to greater recognition of viral symptoms.
In other words, men complain more when they are sick because cold symptoms are worse for them because of their sensitive immune systems.
In conclusion, man flu is real (according to science). But what exactly are the symptoms of man flu?
Through my own observations of my husband being sick for two days and counting… Here’s a complete list of man flu symptoms.
Symptoms of Man Flu
Constant groaning: While in the kitchen making breakfast for my family, I hear a groaning. At first I thought our house was haunted. But, no. It’s just my husband curled up on the couch, groaning about his suffering every two minutes.
Inability to move: My husband is convinced with increased walking (or any movement) comes an increase in overall pain. The only time he moves is to go to the bathroom.
Need for affection: Everyone wants to be taken care of. Especially when we’re sick. With the man flu, my husband wants to be held all the time. Although I wish my hugs were magic hugs that eradicated sickness, they don’t.
Needing everything done for him: From setting a timer to remember to take his next dose of Dayquil to fetching another glass of water, man flu leaves the victim incapacitated.
Pulling the victim card: The “Why me?” question has been said many times in the last few days. A man with man flu is suffering greatly, and (according to him) no one in the history of the universe has suffered this greatly before!
Describing symptoms at length: A man with man flu has no problem describing in detail the symptoms he is suffering from. No matter how gross they may be. I don’t need a vivid description of what your post nasal drip tastes like.
Inability to recognize humor: When my husband is sick, there are no jokes allowed in the house. Especially about anything to do with being sick. Sarcasm is also not appreciated with man flu.
Since my husband is playing the victim card he has a debilitating fear of being mocked. Smiling at him is not an option to make him feel better. A man with man flu will immediately suspect that you are making fun of his near death experience.
Does your significant other have the man flu?
If so, my condolences. Throughout this entire article, you are probably thinking I’m the most insensitive wife alive. Or you’re thinking that this is completely relatable.
Women just experience sickness differently then men.
As a wife and mother, sickness does not affect me the same way. I was sick for a week with the same symptoms my husband has now. But for me, life didn’t stop. As a wife I am still expected to keep the house clean and cook dinner. As a mother, I still have to meet all the day-to-day needs of my son.
Mother’s don’t get sick days.
Especially stay-at-home mom’s. I can’t call into work like my husband and receive a paid sick day. I don’t get paid, ever. And I’m still expected to keep the house and family running when I’m dead on my feet. It’s what you sign up for as a wife and mom.
Why Do Women Handle Sickness Better?
As women, we are fierce. We persevere through the worst sickness simply because we have to. We don’t get sick days from our family. Everything happening around the house doesn’t just suddenly stop because mommy isn’t feeling well.
With a severe head cold, my 14-month-old will still wants a bottle of milk at 1 am. My son will still scream at the top of his lungs out of happiness for jumping off the couch. There’s no slowing down. My son doesn’t understand that mommy doesn’t feel well. To him, I’m his best playmate and the best cuddle partner he’s got.
As a stay-at-home mother I don’t have the option of calling a babysitter for the day to get some well needed rest. With my husband at work all day, I know the responsibilities of our child and house fall on me alone.
As women, we suffer silently with being sick. We don’t have the option of displaying man flu symptoms.
We as women suffer silently with a cold or flu because we have to. While my husband takes out the garbage for me and washes an occasional dish… It’s still up to me to do the laundry, dishes and pickup endless toys around the house.
Feelings Toward Man Flu
Yes, I am a bit insensitive. I don’t want to hear endless groaning, complaints and descriptions about my husband’s cold. My husband means more than anything to me, but I don’t want to wait on him hand and foot. I am not his mother, I am his wife. Sometimes that comes with a little tough love.
Women- Don’t fall into the trap of man flu!
Everyone has been sick once in their lives with a cold. If I baby my husband when he’s experiencing man flu, he won’t get better.
Man flu makes my life miserable. I already take care of every need of our one-year-old son. I shouldn’t have to take care of a grown adult man that simply doesn’t take care of himself.
When I was sick, I don’t think my husband noticed.
Husband: “How did you live with this cold? I’ve never felt so horrible in my life!”
Me: “Well I just dealt with it. Nothing around the house is going to get done if I don’t do it.”
Husband: “But you didn’t even complain about being sick.”
I didn’t complain because women don’t exaggerate symptoms. We get things done. From housework to children’s needs, we put everything ahead of our own well being. I don’t have time to sit on the couch all day binge watching shows on Netflix like my husband can.
Men have the luxury of having sick days. But as a mother, I can’t call in sick and I can’t always depend on my husband for help.
Life goes on, even when a mother is sick.
Does your husband have symptoms of the man flu? What is your reaction to him while being sick?