Wimp... That's what your buddies will think if they see you curled up on the sofa suffering from what they call, the 'man flu'. Men congested by the common cold and flu are often the subject of ridicule, but studies have shown that said sniffles actually exist! (Sorry ladies.)

Popular culture has tended to regard the concept of the man flu as an exaggeration of a man’s pain and discomfort in order to solicit extra attention and sympathy from his partner; then said partner has to care for him and help treat his supposedly heinous symptoms. Alas, it ain't no lie girls... Here's why you might actually have to overdo the role of 'nurse' when he's caught the dreaded man flu:

What is Man Flu?

Science suggests than men suffer more from the common cold and flu than females, so you might have to dote on them for longer than you thought! According to research conducted by the University of Cambridge, evolutionary factors have led to women developing more rigorous immune systems than men due to differing reproductive strategies. No matter how big, strong, muscly or how long he can grow his beard, the male gender has been created more susceptible to catching a cold than a female.

The female hormone oestrogen strengthens the women’s immune system and fights off bacteria. The men’s equivalent hormone, testosterone, is known to impair the body’s capacity to fight off illnesses. The part of the brain that triggers fever during inflammatory illnesses is also larger in men, which may also be part of the reason men react more strongly to the common cold than females. High levels of testosterone can weaken the immune system, therefore women have a stronger, natural ability to respond to the jab given against influenza.

However (and this is where it slightly evens out the playing field!) according to UK national statistics, women are just as likely to complain about an illness when they have a partner around – the sympathy vote. Women also call in sick twice as often as men do, however, it is difficult to draw conclusions from these results as women frequently skip work for reasons like period pain or cramps, as well as issues unrelated to themselves. Studies have shown that women are ten times more likely to stay at home to look after sick children than their partners, and are more likely to be absent from work in order to care for elderly relatives.

How long does Man Flu last?

The good news is that, even though man flu is real, the recovery time and 'man flu medicines' are the same as treating a traditional cold or flu. If you consume a well balanced diet and have plenty of liquids and rest, man flu symptoms can disappear as quickly as a standard cold or flu.

While the man flu has yet to be recognised as a formal medical condition, it certainly has real symptoms and research to back it up – so how about we call it even, guys?

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