Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Science behind “man flu”

Man flu is related to health communication rather than symptoms and suffering

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 07 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k450
  1. John Axelsson, professor,
  2. Julie Lasselin, researcher,
  3. Mats Lekander, professor
  1. Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, 114 19 Stockholm, Sweden
  1. john.axelsson{at}

Sue’s paper on “man flu” is an entertaining read.1 But we think that man flu is more likely due to men communicating their symptoms differently from women, rather than having different immune functioning.

In a study of 1700 people with the common cold, Macintyre found that men over-rated their symptoms compared with a clinician’s judgment more often than did …

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