A new study finds that the man in your life may not be overreacting when he gets sick with the common cold – it seems that the "man flu” is real, and he has a reason to complain a little extra.

The Queens Mary University of London study looked at the immune systems of male and female mice that were subjected to different types of infections, The Huffington Post reported.

The findings, published in the medical journal Blood , found that female mice had twice the number of infection-fighting white blood cells, or leukocytes, as males.

The cells were also more aware of the infections and better at attacking them.

Lead research scientist Dr. Ramona Scotland said the team was surprised by the findings. “When we started to look at how these white blood cells behaved, we found that not only were there more cells, but that the cells were more responsive to bacteria and other invaders – and that they worked more effectively,” she said.

When the cells attacked the bacteria in the females’ system, the chemical that makes one feel tired and “sick” wasn’t released. The females bounced back more quickly and had less-severe symptoms than the males.

Dr. Scotland explained that these findings are important because they show that there are more differences in males and females than previously thought, a discovery that could spur profound medical innovations.

“Man flu is a bit of a joke, but from what I’m seeing, there is a real difference,” Dr. Scotland concluded.

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