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    The Man Cold: Why Guys React Differently to Colds

    Biological Differences continued...

    What’s more, the part of the brain that controls body temperature is larger in men because of testosterone. This may lead to higher fevers in men vs. women, Templeton says. But the research isn’t clear, she cautions.

    Some say these things may not have much impact.

    “The way men and women respond to infectious diseases, there’s not really much of a difference between a male response and a female response,” says Aaron E. Glatt, MD, chairman of the department of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital.

    “There are slight differences in studies and numbers,” Glatt says. “But practically, there are no significant differences in the immune system between men and women.”

    Masculinity and the 'Man Cold'

    Cultural factors play a large role in the idea of the “man cold,” according to Pollack, author of Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood.

    Historically, men were trained to think they needed to be “endlessly capable and never failing,” Pollack explains. “So if we get any illness, we make a big deal out of it because it seems like a big deal. It causes more distress because we’re supposed to be infallible.”

    In other words, a man has to think his cold is this close to death, or else he shouldn’t be bothered by it. “But of course he is bothered by it,” Pollack says.

    Fortunately, many men are letting go of this way of thinking, Pollack says.

    “Everyone gets a cold now and then,” he says.

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    Reviewed on July 12, 2016

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