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It's True: Men Really Do Get Hit Harder by the Flu

Your tendency to whine about being sick is now justified. (But not encouraged.)

Next time you’re felled by the flu and your significant other isn’t as compassionate as you’d like, ask her if she’s been living under a bushel, and tell her it’s now a fact that the flu actually hits men harder—and for longer—than it hits women. 

Or, if you’re planning on ever seeing her again, you could simply point out that a study in the American Journal of Physiology has shown that the estrogen in women’s bodies keeps the virus from replicating as much in their cells as it does in men’s. 

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Researchers aren’t sure exactly why it works, but previous studies have found that estrogen seems to fight viruses like HIV, Ebola, and hepatitis. And if a woman’s on birth control—which provides extra estrogen—that could also lessen flu’s symptoms and duration.

Oh, and by the way: If she’s the one who’s flu-y right now, just smile, turn on the teapot, and keep this to yourself.

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