Colds and flu

Updated 11 July 2014

Hostile world

Watch these spectacular graphics of how the human body defends itself. We see some of the most dangerous sports in the world, a double hand transplant and the common cold.


The human body is in danger every single day. Sometimes the attackers are visible, such as during physical violence or contact sport, sometimes the attackers are invisible and might even lurk within you.

In an episode of BBC’s Inside the human body, Michael Mosley uses spectacular graphics to reveal the ingenious ways in which your body defends itself against a hostile world where sunlight shatters your DNA and every breath contains microbes that can kill.

Mosley introduces us to Cristian, a bull jumper whose muscles give him the strength to avoid a violent death, three-year-old Rowan whose internal army fights off the flu virus, and Johnny who gets injured almost every week to earn his living, relying upon his body’s remarkable ability to heal.

We also witness an extreme example of the body’s ability to heal itself. Richard Edwards is filmed having his damaged hands cut off and replaced with someone else’s – the first time a transplant of this nature is done.

This episode is loaded in four installments.

(Compiled by Ilse Pauw and Denzil Daniels, Health24, June 2011)


The Inside the human body series on BBC.

Read more:

How a flu epidemic could hit the world


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Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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