Flu season is fast approaching and with that content on the flu is springing up across all websites. One piece of research in particular is now drawing headlines for how it was covered by the media.
A recent study at Johns Hopkins found that men are get more aggressive flu symptoms because they aren’t protected by the hormone estrogen like women are. Unsurprisingly, media outlets began dubbing this the “man flu” (#MasculinitySoFragile much?), and now the researchers are speaking out.
According to the Huffington Post, Sabra Klein, the lead researcher and associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, stated, “I find it so interesting that [my research] got misrepresented to be all about men.”
This is because the study was originally looking at how estrogen plays a role in how women experience the flu, but in no way tried to land on any particular explanation behind the “man flu.”
“What Klein and her team did find is that adding estrogen to nasal cells—the cells typically infected by influenza—helped stop the virus from replicating in cells from women, but not cells from men,” explained the Huffington Post.
The findings are also important because of how they could potentially impact how doctors approach flu season with their female patients.
“But, premenopausal women on certain kinds of birth control or post-menopausal women on hormone replacement may be better protected during seasonal influenza epidemics,” explained Klein in a press release. “We see clinical potential in the finding that therapeutic estrogens that are used for treating infertility and menopause may also protect against the flu.”
Sounds pretty cool, right? So why is all the focus on men?
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.