Man flu may not exist afterall
While the debate over the existence of 'man flu' continues, a new study has found that men are less likely to admit to having sniffles and sneezes than women.
Women are 16 per cent more likely to say they are ill - and at greater risk from flu in the first place, according to the research, carried out by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine last winter.
The study also suggests that women have a greater chance of contracting the virus as they spend more time around children.
"The biggest risk factor is having children under the age of 18 and for this reason women are more at risk of flu," the Daily Mail quoted Dr Alma Adler, head of the project, as telling the BBC.
People with children reported 14 per cent more flu-like illness compared with people who didn't have children.
But Dr Adler said that they haven't yet found any evidence of 'man flu'.
The Flusurvey has been launched again for 2012-13. This winter the project will record how people describe their feelings when they suffer from flu, hoping to glean more information about the psychology of the illness, as well as the science.
Meanwhile, the debate over man flu is going on.
Dr Douglas Fleming, from the Royal College of GPs' flu research unit, said there is no set rule when it comes to how flu viruses affect people.
"Every flu virus is different. It depends on the strain. We don't know ahead of time how it will affect people. Different viruses affect men, women and children differently," Fleming said.
Professor John Oxford, an expert in virology at Queen Mary, University of London, explained that there is no scientific basis for men and women experiencing symptoms differently. But the perception of man flu could be explained by differences in behaviour.
"We know that women react differently to infection. They are more sensitive to their health. Men bluster around a bit. So there are differences in how men and women perceive illness.
"Men think they are going to die when they are unwell, so they go to bed and expect women to look after them," he added.