The 'man flu' apparently really does exist

The "Man Flu" Really Does Exist!

"Big girls don't cry" -- when it comes to getting the flu, that is!

Apparently, the virus hits men a lot harder than women. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have figured out that women are protected from aggressive flu symptoms because of the female hormone estrogen.

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The researchers collected nasal cells of men and women donors. When all of the cell samples were introduced to the virus along with estrogen, they saw there were less severe symptoms in cells belonging to women.

Apparently, estrogen reduces the virus' ability to reproduce, but only in women. So premenopausal ladies on certain kinds of birth control may be better protected during the flu season.

The idea sparked from previous studies showing estrogen has antiviral properties against HIV, Ebola and even hepatitis.

RELATED: Click through the gallery below to learn about foods that help combat the flu

Dr. Karen Flu Season
See Gallery
The 'man flu' apparently really does exist

Eating fruit is a great way to flight the flu.

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Kid's love broccoli which has loads of vitamins.

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Carrots are packed with good stuff to fight viruses.

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Corn is a fun food that is good for you too.

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Sweet potato is a family favorite -- and it'll help you fight the flu.

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Dips and sauces are a great way to ease kids into liking the taste of vegetables.

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Red meat is rich in zinc and selenium which help keep the flu at bay.

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Shellfish also contains these vital elements that keep us healthy.

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Poultry like roasted chicken has the same benefits.

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Even fortified bread and cereal can do the trick.

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Garlic is great at fighting off viruses.

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Yogurt is important for probiotics as well.

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Dr. Karen Latimer shows us the ropes on foods that help fight the flu.
Dr. Karen Latimer heads to the grocery store.
Dr. Karen grocery shopping with her kids.
Dr. Karen shopping with her girls.
Dr. Karen's son with veggies and dip.

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