A couple of months ago, ‘man flu’ became, officially, a thing. A small watershed moment in the history of how we perceive men-with-colds if you like.
The term has always been used in ridicule. And, as reported in the British Medical Journal in December, it was the unfair association that got a clinical assistant professor (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Dr Kyle Sue’s goat. Especially given the lack of scientific proof to back up that ‘man flu’ is just men overreacting over a blocked nose.
The body of evidence he found, which included clinical studies and human research, pointed strongly in favour of the idea that men do suffer more acutely than women. Also, that they have a weaker immune response with colds and flu.
For one, even the World Health Organisation says that ‘sex should be considered when evaluating influenza exposure and outcomes,’ he says. For another, data taken over six years for seasonal flu in Hong Kong showed that men were at higher risk of hospitalisation. ‘Man flu’ should no longer be used as a pejorative term for when a man has a cold. So, next time you’re gently ribbed for having a head cold you can fight back.
Meanwhile, if ‘man flu’ strikes, here are a handful of natural survival essentials to help you through your day:
1. Rescue Hair + Body Wash with Eucalyptus & Pine Needle oils
An intensive wash formulated for those man down moments, is especially good for a bout of ‘man flu.’ Its powerful medicinal fragrance is down to oils of eucalyptus, pine needle, juniper berry and rosemary, to help decongest. Rescue also contains hydrating Water Bamboo, reviving Ginseng, stimulating Caffeine and softening Creatine to help put the chutzpah back into your day.
Heath Hair + Body Wash, £8
2. Fisherman’s Friend lozenges
A classic from childhood that does what it says on the tin and works a treat. Fisherman’s Friend started in 1865 when a pharmacist from Fleetwood, Lancashire made a lozenge from a menthol and eucalyptus liquid he had developed for fishermen. The liquid was stored in glass bottles, impractical for the freezing, stormy high seas, so a lozenge he figured, was the answer.
Fisherman’s Friend Original, £2.30
3. Immune boosting supplement
Immune Booster by new wellness brand, Anatome is a great place to start. It contains a combination of elderberry and astragalus to help support the immune system and is recommended during periods of stress or exhaustion. Elder helps improve colds, sinus issues and inflammation and when used within the first 48 hours of the start of symptoms, there is some evidence that flu symptoms are relieved around four days earlier. It also contains vitamin C and Zinc.
Anatome Immune Booster, £17.50
4. Large cotton handkerchief
Keep one handy. They’re more environmentally friendly and have more style than tissues. Multi-packs are best – one for the day, then throw in the wash at night. John Lewis does a great, no-fuss pack of seven for £14. Or go for monogrammed in pure Irish linen. Specialist brand, Givan’s does a box of three Irish linen hemstitched gentleman’s handkerchiefs with one embroidered initial.
Givan’s Irish Linen Embroidered Handkerchiefs, £36 for 3
5. Natural headache remedy
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to your usual painkiller, try Sinol M Nasal Spray which contains Capsaicin a natural pain reliever from the pepper plant. Here’s how it works, as expert on-line health store, Victoria Health says: ‘Sinol M Nasal Spray with Capsaicin travels into the sinuses and is picked up by cilia which carry it into the trigeminal nerve throughout the head. The trigeminal nerve becomes desensitized relieving the headache without the rebound effect felt by many other pain relievers.’
Sinol M Nasal Spray, £16
Emma Hill for Heath