ALLENTOWN, PA - JANUARY 11: A patient recieves a flu shot at a mobile tent set up to handle the recent influx of flu cases by the Lehigh Valley Health Network's main hospital campus January 11, 2013 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The health department has designated influenza as widespread throughout 41 states, with more than 11,000 laboratory-confirmed cases since flu season began in mid-December. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
“I searched PubMed/MedLine, EMBASE, Cochrane, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar using combinations and variants of terms ‘man’/’male,’ ‘woman’/’female,’ ‘gender’/‘sex,’ ‘influenza’/‘flu,’ ‘viral,’ ‘respiratory,’ ‘common cold,’ ‘difference,’ ‘comparison,’ ‘intensive care,’” Sue said of his method of research. “I read the abstracts of all articles found and narrowed articles down by relevance. References in each article were then hand searched to ensure comprehensiveness.”
Sue’s somewhat tongue-and-cheek study also noted that U.S. research showed men had higher rates of deaths linked to flu compared to women of the same age.
“I do think that the research does point towards men having a weaker immune response when it comes to common viral respiratory infections and the flu,” Sue told The Guardian. “This is shown in the fact that they (have) worse symptoms, they last longer, they are more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die from it.”
In Ohio, for example, the flu seems to be impacting populations earlier than usual this year. The Ohio Department of Health said the state is above the five-year average for the number of cases reported at this time of year and “significantly higher” than the same time last year.