Prior to flu season, the media reports that millions of people will develop the flu causing an approximate death count of 36,000 people. But dying from the flu is rare.
According to the preliminary report from CDC website in 2002, the number of deaths from the flu was estimated to be around 753. The final total of deaths from the flu for the year 2001 was 257 not 36,000.
Furthermore, there are no documented reports that list death solely from the flu. In actuality, dying from the flu is very rare. Deaths are from the complications that arise from pre-existing conditions or pneumonia.
The CDC reports that most people who come down with the flu will have only mild symptoms, most likely will not need medical attention and should recover within two weeks.
Flu Triggered Complications That Can Cause Life Threatening Conditions
They also report that the flu can trigger a worsening of chronic conditions that may require hospitalization and even death. These chronic conditions can include pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, chronic lung disease such as, cystic fibrosis and COPD/emphysema, neurological conditions, such as stroke, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, blood disorders, kidney, liver, metabolic and endocrine disorders and those with a weakened immune system.
The flu virus is transmitted by air droplets that are sneezed or coughed into the air. Typical symptoms are chills, muscle aches, fever, headache and exhaustion. If left alone, the flu will generally last approximately seven to 10 days.
The period of time that the virus is replicating is called the incubation period and lasts approximately one to two days. No symptoms are apparent at this time.
How the Flu Virus Survives in the Body
The flu virus is only one of a huge pool of microorganisms that can and will invade the body when the immune system is under-functioning. Viruses cannot reproduce outside of a living cell. In order to replicate they must transmit their genetic information to a host cell that can create thousands of new viral cells changing how the host cell behaves. Then each new viral cell finds its own host cell to reproduce more.
The viral cell enters the host cell through tiny spikes located on the surface of the virus. These spikes puncture the host cell creating an entry way. An enzyme that coats the surface of the spikes allows the entry of the virus into the cell.
According to research being done at the Department of Virology, Hebrew University School of Medicine and 10 years at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem by the acclaimed virologist from Israel, Dr. Madeleine Mumcuouglu, PhD, flu vaccines are often ineffective against type A and have no activity against type B flu viruses. Many of the flu viruses mutate, especially those of the type A category creating new strains every year. These are almost impossible to prevent with a vaccine.
However, flu viruses are responsive to specific substances found in the elderberry tree. Active substances of the elderberry were extracted and tested against the flu virus by Dr. Mumcuouglu, who eventually created Sambucol, an elderberry extract. She found that these substances prevented the flu virus from entering host cells by disarmed the spikes and inhibiting the enzymes that coat the spikes.
Reports of patients stricken with the flu had dramatic improvements within 24 hours By day two 73% were improved and 90% were improved by day three, whereas those in the untreated group took almost a week to feel better.
A more recent double blind study completed in Oslo, Norway (2003) reported a reduction of duration of the flu by a whole four days. It was found that substances in elderberry extract stimulated the immune system to increase its production of inflammatory cytokines.
Cytokines are substances that are released by the immune system to signal T-cells and macrophages of the immune system to migrate to the area of infection. They also activate these cells to produce more cytokines.
Other considerations to fight the flu are to avoid sugary and processed food. Get plenty of rest. Take a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Exercise on a regular basis. Wash hands often. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables garlic and onions, preferably organic. And always have elderberry extract, vitamin C, zinc lozenges, herbal throat spray containing Echinacea and Goldenseal on hand to start taking at the very onset of symptoms.
1. Brinn, David, “Israel’s Elderberry Remedy Sambucol Provides Solution to US Flu Vaccine Shortage”, Israel 21c Innovation News Service, 2004.
2. Gilman A, Goodman LS, Hardman JG, Limbird LE (2001). Goodman & Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. New York: McGraw-Hill
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications, Nov 2009.