The immune system protects your body from illness and infection. It does this by recognizing abnormal cells or microorganisms (such as bacteria) that may cause disease, and then triggering the production of specialized proteins called antibodies to attack those invaders. These proteins bind to the harmful cells or microorganisms and activate other defense mechanisms that destroy them. Antibodies also remain in the body after an infection has been cleared as a memory of what to attack if that microbe ever comes back. This is known as the adaptive immune system, which becomes more developed with each exposure so you can better recognize it next time.
Types of immunity
There are two main types of immunity, innate immunity, this is an immediate and generalised response to infection or other bodily threats. It is not specific to one threat or pathogen and therefore needs to be activated immediately to fend off a threat until the adaptive immune system can kick in. Examples of innate immune defenses are skin and mucous membranes (found in the nose, mouth, and gastrointestinal tract), the skin's barrier function that prevents pathogens from entering the body, the acid environment in the stomach that damages pathogens, white blood cells (macrophages and neutrophils) that engulf and destroy pathogens, and natural killer cells that destroy specific pathogens.
The adaptive immune system
The adaptive immune system is further divided into two components: humoral immunity and cell-mediated immunity. Humoral immunity: The production of antibodies is the main function of the adaptive immune system's humoral immunity. These proteins bind to pathogens in the blood and tissues to mark them for destruction. They also bind to other antibodies to neutralize toxins released by bacteria or viruses. Cell-mediated immunity, the activation of killer T-cells that destroy cells that have been transformed (changed) by a pathogen is the main function of the adaptive immune system's cell-mediated immunity. These cells also destroy viruses and bacteria directly by inducing apoptosis a type of programmed cell death.
Immunization is the process of stimulating the adaptive immune system to create antibodies and memory B-cells to fight against a particular pathogen. The most common way to do this is with a vaccine. Vaccines contain a weakened or dead pathogen that is administered in a small amount to stimulate the immune system to create antibodies against this pathogen. After receiving a vaccine, antibodies are created that bind to the pathogen and defend against it. Immunization is not new, but its history dates back thousands of years. People would rub the pustules of people infected with smallpox on their skin to create antibodies against the disease. In the 19th century, scientists discovered that they could extract a toxin from the bacteria that causes smallpox and use it as a vaccine. Millions of people were immunized against smallpox and the disease was officially eradicated in 1979. Today, vaccination is used to prevent over 12 infections including hepatitis B, measles, mumps, tetanus, diphtheria, HPV, and Haemophilus influenza type B.
How the Immune System Fights Illness and Disease
The immune system protects your body by recognizing abnormal cells or microorganisms that may cause disease, and triggering the production of specialized proteins called antibodies to attack those invaders. These proteins bind to harmful cells or microorganisms and activate other defence mechanisms that destroy them. Antibodies also remain in the body after an infection has been cleared as a memory of what to attack if that microbe ever comes back. This is known as the adaptive immune system, which becomes more developed with each exposure so you can better recognize it next time. The human body has many barriers that are designed to keep out unwanted invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.
How to Boost Your Body's Defenses
A well-balanced diet, plenty of sleep, and keeping active are all important to your immune system. It is recommended that you wash your hands regularly and avoid contact with people who are sick to reduce the risk of infection. Avoiding smoking is also beneficial because it reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and can reduce the effectiveness of your immune system. You can also boost your immune system by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Some people take multivitamins to make sure they’re getting enough vitamins and minerals from their diet, but it’s best to get these from your diet. Supplements can also have side effects, especially if you take high doses, so it's best to get these from food.
The immune system is an essential part of our body that protects us from illnesses and infections. This complex network of cells and organs is designed to recognise and destroy pathogens. The adaptive immune system is further divided into two components: humoral immunity and cell-mediated immunity. The adaptive immune system becomes more developed with each exposure so you can better recognise it next time.