Signs your son may be suffering from his first man cold sharyn Morrow photo

8 Signs Your Son May Be Suffering From His First Man Cold

If you have a son, you’ve got to know it’s going to happen sooner or later.

Where once he caught just run-of-the-mill daycare diseases and the common cold—the latter barely slowing him down enough to have his nose wiped while he ran circles around the house—he will now contract the dreaded man cold.

The man cold is no different in pathology than the common cold, but it manifests entirely differently. It is characterized by over-fixation and over-reporting of symptoms, commonly referred to as “whining.”

For an example of what a man cold can look like, watch this popular video by Man Stroke Woman.

There are conflicting views on whether the man cold actually exists. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Web MD that there’s nothing in the medical literature to back up any difference in men’s and women’s colds. And a study of 1,700 people by the University of Glasgow concluded that men were more likely than women to overrate their symptoms of the common cold. This is why it’s really important to take preventive measures if possible. One way to make sure that you do this is to take preventive medicine appointment if you can. Hopefully this will help with other things as well and not just a common cold. But at least it means that you a better chance of not getting ill that often.

But a neuroscientist for Durham University in the U.K., Dr. Amanda Ellison, says that men have more temperature receptors in the brain and therefore experience higher fevers and worse symptoms.

I’m not sure who to believe, but I do find it curious that Ellison says boys and girls have the same amount of temperature receptors during childhood, but that once puberty hits, and testosterone makes the part of the brain that perceives heat start to grow bigger, boys begin to experience fevers differently.

That’s a plausible theory given the scene that played out in our house last week. My preteen son came down with what was admittedly a nasty cold and sore throat, but with a notable increase in common cold colour commentary compared to illnesses past.

Take note of the following signs, and you too will be able to recognize the onset of your son’s first man cold.

1. Everything hurts. Including doing nothing.

2. The sound of doing nothing is deafening: “But if I lie down, the rustling of my blankets sounds SO loud.” Still, sleeping in mom’s queen-sized bed helps ameliorate symptoms.

3. He is weakened to the point where he’s unable to grip things. Except for Lego and the television remote.

4. He wants to know why, oh, why, he should have the rotten luck of coming down with illness on a Friday, ruining a perfectly good weekend.

5. His symptoms are described in detail. “I think the puss in my throat has moved from one side to the other.”

6. He believes there’s blood in his urine, when really he just had a beet salad.

7. Speaking of food, he appreciates the steady stream of soups and chili, but can’t enjoy them because of his sore throat and diminished taste buds.

8. He wants to know if you can drive his brother to school instead of making the eight-minute journey on foot in case his situation should worsen while you’re out of the house.

Sound familiar? Please dish in the comments. We’re in this together, friends.

Sharyn Morrow Photo

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Brandie Weikle

About Brandie Weikle

Brandie is a long-time parenting editor, writer and spokesperson. Most recently editor-in-chief of Canadian Family magazine, Brandie has also been the parenting and relationships editor for the Toronto Star, founding editor of two Toronto Star websites, and an editor for Today's Parent. Brandie is a single mother of two in Toronto and a frequent television and radio guest on parenting topics. A former digital director at House & Home Media, she also consults on digital audience engagement. Contact her here. View all posts by

'8 Signs Your Son May Be Suffering From His First Man Cold' have 4 comments

  1. September 22, 2014 @ 11:47 pm Leslee

    Can’t even pick a favourite–I laughed my way through the whole thing. With three sons, it all sounds very familiar. (My daughter, now 20, was also quite dramatic at that age.)


  2. September 24, 2014 @ 9:49 am Donna

    Well, I don’t have kids but this all sounds familiar. My whole life my Dad has reacted like this to every cold. If it isn’t gone in 2 days he gets really cranky and acts like he is on deaths doorstep. Good luck to you for the winter 🙂


  3. September 25, 2014 @ 6:24 am Kristine

    My favourite man-cold moment was when my son said “I can’t make my bed mum, I have a man-cold”.
    Only cure for a man-cold in our house is sympathy and TV.


  4. Cathline

    January 21, 2016 @ 4:54 am Cathline

    OMG, I also laughed out loud, such details are very familiar to me no matter if the man is small, as in pre-teen, or large as in grandfather!


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