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You don’t have to be married to know what a “man cold” is. No doubt, your dad, brother(s), uncle(s) — really, every male in your life — have suffered from the debilitating affliction at one point or another. The disease strikes hard and fast, while the victims react soft and slow, initially convinced they aren’t sick at all. But once it hits, watch out, because the results, at times, can be near fatal. The symptoms — cough, runny nose, sore throat, awful sound coming from the depths of his soul — are easy to spot, but just in case, here are some of the red flags you should watch out for:

1. Upon contact with a sick person, he immediately starts sniffling

Man colds are highly contagious. A hallway conversation with a sick co-worker or a coughing cashier at the grocery store, and he’s as good as done for.

man-cold-don-draper-fainting
Image: AMC/Imgur

2. Indeterminate “scratchy feeling” in his throat

Don’t offer a lozenge. This is serious. His throat hurts “so bad,” it feels like he just had a tonsillectomy without anesthesia.

3. Yep, he definitely feels something “coming on”

While symptoms may not yet be visible to the naked eye, victims are immediately aware that their immune system has been compromised. Call it a sixth sense, if you will.

4. He’s become psychic

He is always one step ahead of his illness: “I’m going to lose my voice, I can feel it.” (Despite the absence of any actual audible indication that it’s going to go.)

man-cold-zoolander-cough
Image: Paramount Pictures/orfane via Reddit

5. He starts to sound like Barry White

Listen between coughs and throat clears for a change in his voice’s timbre, which may become sporadically deeper and weaker, most often during requests for food and drink from the couch. Or floor.

6. He is able to self-diagnose

He might not be able to lift a finger but he is remarkably still able to move his thumbs and search out his symptoms on WebMD.

sick_doctor
Image: Buena Vista Pictures/Tumblr

7. He needs a second opinion, stat

The patient will ask repeatedly for you feel his glands then narrate the entire examination: “Are they swollen? They feel swollen. Yeah, they’re totally swollen.”

8. He can’t go to work

It’s. Just. Too. Much.

sick_work
Image: The Comedy Network/Reaction GIFs

9. He needs the soft tissues

Because the regular three-ply ones you have at home are altogether too harsh for his raw, delicate nose.

10. He asks for a bell

We recommend you grant the patient’s aforementioned request and then run over said bell.

11. He won’t eat anything but soup

Because he can’t swallow or hold anything else down, okay?!

sick_soup
Image: BCDCLC via Reddit

12. He feels as “hot as the sun”

Granted, a slightly elevated temp is not uncommon in these cases, but considering he just scarfed down a giant bowl of chicken-noodle soup (see above) and is now curled up under a blanket in his flannel PJs, there are other possible explanations for the spike in his temperature.

13. He can barely move a muscle

He’s too weak to do anything and can only just barely turn his head toward the television to watch sports and/or cartoons. (Man colds typically do not affect the muscles needed to control the remote.)

14. Your mother-in-law is mentioned more and more

Specifically, references to her impeccable bedside manner. Pay no mind: It’s the illness talking.

man-cold-christina-yang-nobody-cares
Image: CTV/I Guess I’m a Grownup

15. He can barely speak above his whisper

You know, sore throat and all.

16. He thinks about walking towards the light

This is a critical point in man-cold patient care: Monitor him carefully, lest he give into the pain.

sick_deathbed
Image: Paramount Pictures/Reaction GIFs

17. Wait: He sees another light

The light at the end of the tunnel, that is. Once rested, fed and hydrated, the man should start to wake from his hazy shade of drama.

18. He’s ready for your praise

He’s finally feeling like his old self but still needs constant reminders of how strong and brave he was to have powered through this life-threatening affliction the likes of which have never before been seen by another human being.

man-cold-buster-arrested-development
Image: CanWest Global/hundrings via Funnyjunk