Letter: Dads and lads

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Letter:

Dads and lads

Sir: Once again the hoary old myth that men are hypochondriacs is unquestioningly wheeled out ("Women get colds, men get flu", 28 May), when all the evidence - much of it in the article - points to the precise opposite.

Men seek less medical attention, take fewer prescribed drugs, are less susceptible to pain, take fewer days off sick (everywhere I've worked) and then drop dead. Where's the hypochondria there? The contrast Steve Crawshaw draws between anecdote and statistic is not ironic, it's just that the anecdotes are misleading.

A serious, objective examination is required of residual gender attitudes to sickness, with their instinctive assumptions of female weakness and male resilience which result in one gender's illnesses tending to be taken at face value while the other's are treated with scepticism.

Have any tests been conducted on comparative reaction to illness, incorporating blood tests, pain readings and a whingeometer (soon to be patented for use on Premiership football managers)?

As someone who has only taken one day off sick in 12 years, I bristle at the casual accusations that men are hypochondriacs, in the same way that Tessa Sanderson would object to the suggestion that women can't throw.

MIKE SHEARING

Heavitree,

Essex

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