Health & Wellness

Does the 'man cold' exist? Mom compares sicknesses with husband

When one parent comes down with a cold, chances are the other parent will soon follow.

But, in a video posted to her blog, That's Inappropriate, Meredith Masony is showing that wives and husbands can respond quite differently to a cold virus.

The video, which now has over 17 million views, shows the difference between a "man cold" and a "mom cold." Despite having a cold herself, Masony makes soup for her sick husband and checks his head for a fever while juggling laundry, vacuuming and other household duties.

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"I don't really have that much empathy," Masony said as she addresses her husband's complaints. "Because I, as well, have the exact same cold you do and I am doing laundry and dishes and dealing with the kids."

As Masony continues to meet her sick husband's demands — fetching him medicine and bringing him juice — she encourages him to stop being a "big, baby man child" and "man up a bit."

Masony says although the video is meant to be exaggerated and sarcastic, there is a great deal of truth to the content.

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"This seems to happen every year — the kids bring home back-to-school germs and we all get sick," Masony told TODAY. "I work from home and there is no such thing as a sick day. Between the kids and house and work, I have to keep going. I love my husband dearly, but he does turn into a puddle when he is sick."

"I honestly do not think men get sicker, or get the common cold worse than women, but I am no doctor or scientist," Masony continued.

William Schaffner is a doctor, and serves as professor of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Schaffner says all joking aside, some colds are, indeed, more severe than others.

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"There are many hundreds of different common cold viruses," said Schaffner. "If you get infected by one with which you've had past experience, your immune system can fend it off and you'll only have a mild illness. But, if this is your first encounter with this particular virus, you likely will get a very bad cold."

Schaffner says lack of sleep or exercise can also cause the immune system to be weak, making it more difficult to fight off a cold virus. And, underlying diseases such as diabetes or chronic lung disease could contribute to a cold becoming a more severe illness down the road.

"None of these things have anything to do with gender," said Schaffner. "And, you'll not find the 'man cold' in any medical textbook, but we all know that males are the weaker sex."

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