The Immune System Defined

The immune system is a whole network of defender cells, organs and tissues.  The main task of this network is to defend the body against many types of invaders such as parasites, fungi and bacteria that have the potential to harm an individual’s health.

Although the human body provides an ideal environment for many disease-causing microbes or pathogens in which to survive, multiply and thrive, the immune system works to keep these microbes out or to seek and kill them.

This is made possible because the immune system consists of both specialized and non-specialized defenses. Examples of non-specialized defenses include the skin and the acid produced in our stomach, while the specialized defenses have specific types of pathogen targets to fight against.

The Body’s First Line of Defense

The first part of the immune system is made up of defenses that humans are born with, thus the term “innate system”. The first line of innate system defense is the skin, which is a water proof barrier that prevents pathogens from entering the body.

Our nose and mouth have mucous membranes that have the capability to produce sticky mucus that cleverly traps pathogens and other disease-causing bacteria. The stomach also produces gastric juice that has high levels of acidity to be able to kill those bacteria that come from foods that we eat.

Your saliva is also part of your innate system defense because it washes off all those pathogens that enter your teeth and reduce the amount of bacteria that stays in your mouth. 

However, if there are disease-causing bacteria that manage to enter the body despite the presence of this first line of defense, the second line of defense will now be summoned to wage war against these pathogens.

The Body’s Second Line of Defense

The second part of the immune system is what we commonly refer to as “immunity” which is continuously developed as the person grows. The immunity does the task of fighting against specific types of pathogens. The immune system comes pre-loaded with a database of specific types of threats, and it adds to its store of knowledge as it encounters disease-causing pathogens though a lifetime.

Our body’s immune system (i.e. the part that provides us immunity) mainly involves lymphocytes that are found in the blood, lymph nodes, thymus and spleen. Lymphocytes produce antibodies that attack antigens. These lymphocytes also have the capability to destroy virus-infected cells. 

Once a certain illness is defeated, lymphocytes will then keep a record of these viruses or bacteria so your body will be able to remember it all throughout your lifetime. In turn, when these disease-causing bacteria or virus manage to penetrate inside your body for the second time it will be much easier for your lymphocytes to defeat them.

An understanding of this pattern of occurrence has led to the birth of vaccines, which contain weakened antigens that may be injected into the body. It is amazing to know that the human body produces millions of defender cells every day, to be able to kill germs and prevent them from causing any illness. If you are found to have a weak immune system, be aware that there are many natural ways to improve and strengthen it.

Jeff Moji

Hi there. I'm Jeff Moji, an engineer, information technologist, and health enthusiast. I have set up this website to explore the best ways to keep fit and healthy as I grow older during this pandemic-prone time. Please keep in touch so we can exchange information and spur one another on.

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