You are always surrounded by millions of bacteria, fungi, etc. Despite being surrounded by harmful micro- organisms, toxins, and the threat of our own cells turning into tumor cells, humans manage to survive. In this article I am going to explain what exactly immunity does which makes it an important system in very simple words.
WHAT IS IMMUNITY?
It can be bit difficult to understand immunity. Let’s just simplify the topic by understanding it through an example-
Imagine, it’s a beautiful day, when suddenly a wild rust nail appears and you cut yourself. The first barrier of your immune system is skin and it got breached by the nail. Nearby bacteria will seize the opportunity and enter your wound. They will now start using up the body resources and double their numbers about every 20 minutes. At first, they fly under the radar, but when a certain bacteria population is reached, they change their behavior and start to damage the body by changing the environment around them. Now here our immune system plays a major role. The immune system stops and kills the bacteria as soon as possible. I guess now you might have a rough idea that what exactly our immune system does.
According to the definition immunity is defined as the capacity of the body to resist pathogenic agents. It is the ability of the body to resist the entry of different types of foreign bodies like bacteria, fungi, etc. Immune system can identify a threat, mount an attack, eliminate a pathogen and develop a mechanism to remember the offender in case you encounter it again.
Your immunity is like military with two main branches-
1.Innate immunity / Nonspecific immunity
2.Adaptive immunity / Specific immunity
Innate immunity is the body’s first natural defense to any intruder. Its system doesn’t care what it is actually killing. Its primary goal is to prevent any intruder from entering the body and if it does enter, then the immunity system kills the intruder directly. It is the inborn capacity of the body to resist pathogenesis. The innate immunity is feverishly fast, working within minutes to hours. Feverishly that’s because it is responsible for causing fever. There is no memory associated with the innate immunity which means, the innate response will respond to the same pathogen in exact same way no matter how many times it sees the pathogen.
Now let’s understand a bit more with the help of an example – While breathing in, if some foreign particles for example any dust particle enters through our nostrils. Eventually it reaches trachea and gets stuck in the mucus. Now the body will try to remove this particle from the body because if it enters the lungs it can cause some serious damage. Hence the body’s immune response would be coughing or sneezing in order to remove that foreign body. So, this is innate immune response .
Adaptative immunity is more efficient, as it can differentiate between different types of micro-organism / pathogens. This is the most powerful immune mechanism that protects our body from different invading micro-organism. The great advantage of the adaptative immune response is immunological memory which means that it remembers the pathogens or micro-organisms. It has two main components, which are T- lymphocytes and B- lymphocytes.
It comes into play when an infection has already occurred. Thus, bringing about cell mediated response.
B – lymphocytes
B cells joins the fight when pathogens have already entered, but haven’t caused any diseases. This is called humoral immune response.
Now let’s understand a bit more with the help of an example – Ever wondered why do we get chicken pox only once in a lifetime, obviously there are few exceptional cases. But usually you don’t get it twice in a life time. It’s because of the adaptative immunity. Like I mentioned earlier that adaptative immunity has immunological memory which means it saves its memory of the first encounter. If the same bacteria or virus tries to invade again the adaptive immune response kills it directly and quickly.
So, I guess now you have an idea what exactly our immune system is, what it does and how important it is in order to have a long healthy life. I tried to explain in very simple words. If you want a detailed article about immunity then let me know in the comment section below.
If you are interested in increasing your immunity through easy home remedies then do read this article
For more such articles check out the website medicoved
Author : Easminara Shaikh