"I had almost forgotten about scarves," you think as you remove your air conditioner from the window, replace your lacy undies with cable-knit drawers, and begin to dread the impending bout of cabin fever that will see you play Zingo 185 times before it is again light and warm after 6 p.m. But nothing — nothing —strikes fear into the hearts of women across the Northern Hemisphere like the realization that man flu season is here.
I bet you'd almost forgotten about getting innoculated, and, more importantly, getting your husband innoculated against the moving target that is this year's strain of influenza. Is the man flu even a flu virus, or is it simply a nebulous collapse in the familial order that nothing — not tissues or hot lemon drinks or the utter exhaustion you yourself are facing — can cure? No one knows. Regardless, we are in service of you here at Romper, and have consulted numerous experts to bring you a thoroughly researched medical guide to diagnosing and treating man flu.
Early Warning Signs
Is your husband wearing a blanket around the house or possibly a demonstratively large scarf? Is he coughing meekly with a gesture each time toward his throat? Is he laying upon the fainting couch with a thermometer in his mouth, asking, "Do I feel hot to you?" These are all symptoms of man flu.
Go to your medical kit and retrieve your most sympathetic face. Return to your man, who is stricken somewhere comfortable, and ask, "Do you think you you have the same thing the kids and I had, then?"
If he replies, "I... [interminable coughing] I think it's something worse," then you've got a classic case of man flu.
Perhaps more important than the response of your partner's leukocytes to a simple virus is the manner with which you approach their dire condition. Bring a mug of hot water and lemon, or a recently toasted frozen waffle and some Sriracha. You can also try offering your kombucha — he'll ask, "Do you think it will help me feel better?" but won't actually drink it, so you'll get points for offering, and then you'll get to enjoy your bougie drink.
If you are both laid up in bed, you will want to be courteous as you cough and toss and turn. If your partner conveys that your own illness is interfering with his own convalescence, sit up, roll back the covers, and sympathetically ask, "Would you prefer to sleep on the couch, sweetie?"
Have your kids make a card that says, "Get better, Daddy!" or "I <3 you daDdY" or "Daddy can I have your iPhone." Bring the dog in to offer emotional support. Take your husband's temperature from time to time and affirm that "you feel hot." You can also pop some Vicks Vaporub onto his feet and offer children's Tylenol, which tastes superior to the adult product.
Doctors are united in asking that you do not use antibiotics for viruses — as antibiotics attack bacterial infections, they are naturally powerless against a virus, and your use of them will decimate your gut flora and also bring us one step closer to an antibiotic-resistant superbug. However, if your husband is intent on using the amoxycillin he fell into on a trip to Los Cabos, there is frankly little you can do. At that point, it's basically a placebo that will give him diarrhea — I guess if it makes him feel better ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The good news is that man flu often isn't contagious, because you either have the exact same strain of cold virus and are sucking it up and dealing with it, or it's a figment of your S.O.'s imagination, and unable to replicate in foreign biomes.
The man flu can be quite acute at the height of its powers, but will always resolve on its own with a few days; usually whenever you get better, or there is a really exciting pork belly event happening at a local salumeria.