Have you ever heard the term “man flu?” It’s usually used in jest to poke fun at men when they complain about being sick. People say it to suggest the guy is just being overly dramatic about their illness. But, new research suggests that men may have good reason to whine a little louder than women when they get the flu.
Research Reveals Gender-Based Immune Responses
The BMJ (previously called The British Medical Journal) recently published a review of previous studies conducted on animals that suggests the immune systems of males respond to viruses differently than the immune systems of females. They concluded that men may not be, in fact, overly dramatic when they complain about feeling terrible during illnesses. Their immune systems don’t have as strong a response as women’s do.
Another study conducted in 2016 indicated that viruses may have evolved to be weaker in women than in men. The researchers say that, like all living things, viruses have a “survival instinct.” To perpetuate themselves, they are weaker in women because women are more likely to transfer the virus to other people, especially children.
Even with some evidence that men may have a worse experience with viruses than women, many experts still believe that “man flu” happens mostly in the mind.
Treating Flu Symptoms
Regardless of whether you believe one gender experiences the flu more severely than the other, it’s a good idea to know what to do should your aging family member come down with a case of the flu. To help an older adult feel better faster, doctors suggest trying some of these tips:
- Offer Fluids: Make sure the senior gets plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Water, juice, and soup are all good choices. Fluids can also help to thin mucus.
- Pain Relievers: If the older adult’s doctor has approved their use of over the counter pain relievers, they may help with body aches.
- Warm Shower: A warm, steamy bathroom can help open up the head and chest and thin mucus in the sinuses.
- Warm Compress: Warm, moist compresses placed on the sinuses and cheeks can ease sinus pressure.
- Warm Liquids: Warm liquids, like broth or tea, can make a scratchy throat feel better.
- Keep Upper Body Elevated: Keeping the upper body elevated during sleep will make breathing easier.
If your aging relative gets the flu, an elderly care provider can help them while they recover. An elderly care provider can prepare and offer liquids. They can also create a warm compress and help apply it to the senior’s face. An elderly care provider can also help them to safely take a warm shower. If the older adult should need to see a doctor, an elderly care provider can drive them to the appointment, even stopping at the pharmacy to pick up any medications the doctor prescribes or suggests.
Are you or a loved-one considering Home Care in Falls Church, VA? Please call the caring staff at Medical Professionals On Call today. Contact: 703-273-8818
Medical Professionals On Call has such a caring, professional staff who are available to step in with whatever level of care necessary for loved ones and to relieve you of that stress.