Winter is upon us; that Chrismas bug is doing the rounds and men everywhere are convinced they're about to fall into a snot-induced coma that they may never wake from. And well, it turns out, this may not even be a dramatic over-reaction to a common cold.
Researchers have found that the long-debated and controversial phenomenon of "man-flu" may have some basis in facts, and the only cure is "enormous televisions and reclining chairs."
The Canadian study was carried out with the sole purpose of determining whether men really do experience worse symptoms than women – or whether it's all just a mythical crock-of-shit.
Surprisingly, it found that men have a higher risk of hospital admissions and higher rates of influenza-associated deaths than their female counterparts, regardless of underlying disease.
Men are also more susceptible to medical complications, face greater risks of death from acute respiratory disease – and even tend to suffer more from viral respiratory illnesses.
Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Dr Kyle Sue, clinical professor at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, says this may be down to having a less robust immune system.
"Men may not be exaggerating symptoms but have weaker immune responses to viral respiratory viruses," he said, "leading to greater morbidity and mortality than seen in women."
"Perhaps now is the time for male-friendly spaces, equipped with enormous televisions and reclining chairs, to be set up where men can recover from the debilitating effects of man flu in safety and comfort."
Dr. Sue thinks there may actually be an evolutional benefit to a weak immunity, as it has allowed men to invest their energy in other biological processes, "such as growth, secondary sex characteristics, and reproduction".
He even believes "lying on the couch, not getting out of bed, or receiving assistance with activities of daily living could also be evolutionary behaviors that protect against predators."
No other scientific study has been carried out to determine whether the term "man flu" is appropriate or accurate – and Sue insists further research is needed.