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When it Comes to the Flu - Women are Stronger Than Men


Mr. Peter Bedard MA, C.Ht.


Health, Fitness, and Beauty

After a near-death experience, Peter Bedard was faced with the greatest challenge of all: Living a life in severe physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. The former dancer soon discovered that the anger and frustration he felt because of his injuries were not only keeping him in pain, but were waiting to teach him the greatest gifts of his life.   Now, a celebrated author and healer, he helps thousands of people globally to live a life of full potential while integrating the lessons of pain into balanced living. Peter is the owner of and Peter's book, Convergence Healing: Healing Pain with Energetic Love, is in bookstores now! His newest book, "When Happiness is Work, A 30 Day Guide to Creating a Life of Joy and Healing Depression" is taking pre-orders NOW prior to publication!

Women are Stronger Than Men – At Least When it Comes to Fighting the Flu

Is the "man flu" real? Do men actually suffer more when they have the flu? It simply isn't possible to say what is an absolute truth at this time. There are some men who do seem to suffer greatly when they are sick and others, as well as some women, who seem to be able to go through with the process of healing with a greater sense of grace and ease. As a gay man, the idea of the "man flu" was totally foreign to me. I had no idea there was such a thing and when I was asked to do a little research about this I laughed out loud! It seemed absurd to me. Most of the studies I came across were based on sex and age...I wonder if gender identity has any play on this as well? Or, is it just the excuse that macho straight men need to whine and finally express their emotions?  Hhhhmmm...I sound a little biased, don't I? Well, let me set that aside and share what I discovered in researching all of this...

A recent study from the University of Ottawa, Canada found slim evidence that this myth might be real. Men may actually suffer more than women do when dealing with the flu and flu like symptoms. The study was done on mice and it suggests that the testosterone driven male immune system isn't as strong as the females. Apparently, testosterone can be viewed as an immune suppressor whereas estrogen is an immune enhancer. 

Another study done by Dr. Kyle Sue of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada found that yes, there just might be some truth in this "man flu" thing as well. Dr. Sue found that the evidence around "man flu" suggests that there might be a sort of "immunity gap". But he was quick to say that the evidence was "certainly not definitive".   

Statistically, it is true that the female body responds better to vaccines so this may be an explanation in itself. Genetically, women have better immune systems. 

But, then again, another study done in 2015 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and the University of Hamburg found that although women do seem to be more responsive to the flu vaccine, "...females in their reproductive years display an increased tendency to die..." from the flu. 

Another study, actually several, cites that men are more likely to die from the flu but we also know that men are also less likely to reach out for health support until they are in dire need. We know that women often do not receive the health care they need due to factors like gender prejudice and income restraints. All of the studies supporting "man flu" are based on observational mice based studies and often self-reported statistics and not actual in house lab experiments with actual humans. 

In conclusion, the "man flu" may be a real thing. But does it really matter? When you're sick with the flu I don't think it does. Whether someone is "good" with handling the pains of healing (like potentially most women are) or "bad" and needs to whine or needs greater recovery time to heal, give it to them! We all heal at our own pace and in our own time. If someone needs a little extra comfort,  no matter the gender, why not practice a little extra loving kindness? We need more of that in the world anyway!

On a side note, I've talked myself out of being sick to various degrees in the past. Two years ago right after I published my first book I woke up the morning of a big on air interview with a stomach ache, fever, and throwing up. I couldn't cancel this opportunity so on the 45 minute drive to the studio, with a clean pair of underwear and a new pair of pants besides me just in case I didn't make it, I talked to my body. I told my cells how great they were, how much I appreciated them, and I should them in my imagination what life looked like feeling happy, healthy, and strong. I chanted, I sand, I danced in my car seat even as I felt like I was going to throw up and by the time I arrived at the studio to film my spot I felt fantastic! 

In fact, recently I was able to overcome a flu virus that had knocked out my friends for weeks. I went through the whole process in 36 hours. I did all kinds of things to heal myself but the most important practice was how I spoke to myself. I saw myself as already healed even when I had evidence of being sick. This is what I believe to be the most important knowledge of healing...not gender, not age, not anything but your attitude!


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