Are Men Wimps About Getting Colds?

ByABC News via logo
December 10, 2005, 2:49 PM

Jan. 21, 2006— -- Flu season has arrived, and depending how bad this season shapes up to be, as many as 60 million Americans could be infected.

More of the victims might be men than women.

A recent survey by a Benenden Healthcare in Scotland found that one in three men took time off work because of a cold or flu, compared to only one in five women.

The common cold and the flu will account for tens of millions of sick days this year, which could cost American businesses as much as $8 billion a year in paid sick leave, according to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Male workers are more likely to call in sick with "the flu," while women tend to go to work and carry about their business when they feel an illness coming on, according to Benenden.

Benenden also found that 31 percent of men take days off for winter sniffles, compared to 22 percent of women. Women, however, are more likely to take time off for sickness and stomach bugs.

Perhaps the reason is that many men do not take care of themselves the way they should. For example, men eat less fruit than women and are less likely to go to the doctor.

"Men don't like to submit very easily," said Dr. Nando Pelusi, a psychologist. "And when you go to the doctor you have to do what he says, get naked, get prodded. And most of us don't like that."

That same Scottish survey found 72 percent of women believe men make an unnecessary fuss when they're sick, and 22 percent of women said men expected to be nursed. Only 12 percent of the woman said they felt sorry for them.

OfficeTeam, an international staffing company based in Menlo Park, Calif., found in a recent survey that 80 percent of employees polled said they frequently show up to work while sick.