Despite multiple letters to Santa this year requesting new exercise equipment for our expanding garage home gym, all he managed to bring to our house was a sack full of coronavirus. After nearly 2 years of debating, “Do I have it? Is this Covid? Is my throat sore?” I finally experienced the old boy in all his snot and glory.
Ana-Maria and I arrived home from a Las Vegas trip a few days before Christmas. Las Vegas would not typically be on our pre-holiday to-do list, but my big sister was turning 50 and wanted to blow it out the Vegas way. Despite masking in hotels and casinos, we also found ourselves in the middle of Vegas mega club dance floors, amongst thousands of unmasked millennials, grinding the night away. We made it through the trip with no symptoms whatsoever, but upon returning home I noticed a bit of dry sore throat which I chalked up to the dry air on the plane.
BRING ON THE “MAN COLD”
24 hours later, I was in the throes of an all-out “man cold” according to my wife. Now let me digress here on the concept of man cold to defend all the men out there who have suffered a similar fate. According to Macmillan dictionary, “The expression derives from the premise that there is a clear gender divide when it comes to coping with everyday illnesses like common colds: women knuckle down and soldier on regardless, looking after children, preparing meals, going to work, whilst men take to their beds and proclaim incapacity for several days”.
New evidence suggests a Man Cold pandemic might be the triggering event that wiped out the dinosaurs. I mean, how could male dinosaurs be expected to hunt under this catastrophic disease?! 😁
People criticize Man Colds without knowing the origin, history, and facts of the crippling condition. Many women, having only experienced the minor annoyances of pregnancy and childbirth, can not fully grasp the intense level of suffering. 😂
Here is a recent Tweet from a woman who clearly does not grasp the severity.
Hubs and I both have Covid.
The only difference is that I’m cleaning and he’s dying.
Now for a bit of actual science on man colds. “Regarding colds, there may be some impact of sex,” says Kim Templeton, MD, a surgeon at the University of Kansas Hospital. Templeton has done extensive studies on gender differences in health.
The female sex hormone estrogen slows down how fast a virus multiplies, Templeton says. This may lead to fewer symptoms. The flu virus may not spread as quickly in women because of estrogen and how the female body reacts to it. Studies have not shown if the same thing applies to the cold virus or the Covid-19 virus.
A recent study out of Canada looked at implications of gender on upper respiratory illnessesAccording to study author Dr. Kyle Sue, “there are already many physiologic differences between men and women, so it makes sense that we could differ in our responses to cold and flu viruses as well.”
“The evidence in current studies points towards men having weaker immune systems than women, especially when it comes to common viral respiratory infections,” Sue explained. “Men are more susceptible to them, symptoms are worse, they last longer, and men are more likely to be hospitalized and die from the flu.”
One investigation out of Hong Kong suggested that when the flu strikes, adult men face a greater risk for being admitted to the hospital than their female peers. Another American study also found that, all things being equal, men seem to face a higher risk for actually dying from the flu than women.
What’s more, several mouse studies suggested that hormonal differences between men and women may actually offer women greater protection from the full brunt of flu symptoms. Other patient-based studies similarly indicated that the onset of a flu may trigger a stronger immune response among women than men, blunting the full impact of symptoms.
Finally, data shows women tend to develop a stronger reaction to the flu vaccine than men, perhaps because higher testosterone levels among men tend to suppress the overall immune response, the review team suggested.
WHAT ABOUT COVID GENDER DISPARITIES?
So does Covid-19 also affect men more than women? Yep. The available data demonstrates a higher rate of male severity and mortality associated with COVID-19. Even when female infection rates supersede that of males, men commonly present with higher intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and death rates
Hopefully, I have now convinced you that man cold (AKA Man Flu, AKA Man Covid) is indeed a crippling condition men face. When it comes to viruses, we are bringing a knife to a gun fight. So you will not be surprised to hear that after contracting Covid-19, my wife continued to work around the house and be active while I worked on my last will and testament in bed.
What were my symptoms? Started with a sore throat and a headache. Within 24 hours developed general malaise, and a cough. I really had about 48 hours where I felt pretty miserable, after that it’s been an annoyance with a nagging cough for 9 days now. Ana-Maria had about 24 hours of malaise, but then was done with it. Of note, she believes she already had Covid at the beginning of the pandemic and thus may have had a stronger immunity. We are both vaccinated, however we have not received boosters.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
One of our biggest questions was what to do with our 3 kids at home. Do we quarantine within our own home from our kids? Is this realistic? We made the decision to isolate all 5 of us in the house, avoid close contact, but still be around each other without masks. Within 4 days, 2 of the 3 kids tested positive. Neither had any symptoms nor have they developed any. The third child never turned positive – go figure.
We have been asked multiple times how we managed active covid in our household. I think it’s very difficult to attempt to quarantine from others living in the same home. Forcing one or two family members to isolate to one room for 10 days is a tall order and one we chose to forego. I think children could have significant lasting emotional scars if they are isolated from remaining family members. Essentially we decided to do this as a family with the knowledge that likely all of us would succumb to the highly infectious omicron variant that is running rampant through the world.
Although it forced us to cancel our big Christmas celebration with the extended family, and post Christmas trip to Florida, it allowed us to enjoy each other’s company during the holidays. We have also worked hard to optimize our immune systems and prepare our bodies for the inevitable Covid attack. This approach may not work for families that have major health discrepancies amongst its members.
OUR APPROACH TO COVID
We decided it was important to be outside some portion of each day. Walks around the neighborhood once or twice per day were mandatory. “Light” exercise, preferably outside, when our symptoms allowed. Admittedly, Ana-Maria and I were a bit short of breath during the early days of our Covid infection. We modified workouts to what our breathing would allow. We shot basketball in the driveway, played ping pong in the garage, and sat on our deck to have coffee.
We bought a 1500 piece puzzle and put it on the counter. It’s amazing how often everyone stopped to work on the puzzle when it’s sitting out.
We stayed away from alcohol – typically our holidays are filled with cocktails and toddies, but we abstained.
We maximized our plant points. Lots of red peppers for Vitamin C (fun fact, red peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges), greens in salads, fresh fruit smoothies, elderberry syrup, Juice Plus, and veggies at dinner
Sleep – we slept more than we have in months
- Supplements -We consumed immune strengthening supplements daily during our ordeal. Our mainstays are <a href=”https://www.familywellnesstips.com/blog/2021/6/28/should-i-give-my-child-vitamin-d-for-eczema”>Vitamin D</a>, Vitamin C, <a href=”https://www.familywellnesstips.com/blog/zinc-supplements-against-eczema”>Zinc</a>, <a href=”https://www.familywellnesstips.com/blog/why-add-omega-3s-to-your-diet”>Omega -3</a>, a probiotic, and SBI protect.
– Follow the links below to access our protocols.
Our approach may not work for all families but it worked for us and saved our sanity (mostly). As we enter the new year, it feels good to have this under our belt and hopefully stronger immune systems because of it. If you would like more guidance on ways to optimize health in your family, check out the updated edition of my book, Healthy Kids in an Unhealthy World, now available on Amazon for only $0.99.
We hope your family thrives into the New Year as well.
Yours in Good Health,
Drs. John and Ana-Maria Temple