Immune system explained - Better Health Channel - Deepstash
Immune system explained - Better Health Channel

Immune system explained - Better Health Channel

betterhealth.vic.gov.au

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The immune system and microbial infection

The immune system and microbial infection

Our bodies' immune system keeps a track record of every microbe that it has ever encountered and defeated in the memory cells (white blood cells - B- and T-lymphocytes).

Once a microbe enters the body again, it can be easily recognized and defeated before it multiplies and make you feel sick.

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Parts of the immune system

Parts of the immune system

  • White blood cells - the key players of our immune system
  • Antibodies - these recognize the antigens on the surface of the microbe then mark them for destruction
  • Complement System - made up of proteins that complement the work done by antibodies
  • Lympathic System - is a network of delicate tubes that's made up of lymph node, lymph vessels, and white blood cells
  • Spleen - the largest organ in the lymphatic system that removes microbes and removes old or damanged red blood cells
  • Bone Marrow - the primary site for new blood cell production
  • Thymus - this filters and monitors our blood content

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The body's other defenses

The body's other defenses

  • Skin - our skin is the largest organ of the body what is waterproof and secretes oil that has bacteria-killing properties
  • Lungs - mucus in the lungs traps foreign bodies and the cilia waves the mucus upwards so that i can be coughed out by the body
  • Digestive Tract - our stomach has mucus linings that contains antibodies and the stomach acid can kill most microbes
  • The body's other defenses include body fluids (skin oil, saliva, and tears) these contain anti-bacterial enzymes that help reduce the risk of infection. Another one is the constant flushing of the urinary tract and bowel.

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Fevers as an immune system response

Fevers as an immune system response

With some infections we may experience getting a fever or a rise in our body's temperature. This is actually an immune system response and by doing so can actually kill some microbes and trigger the body's repair process.

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Common disorders of the immune system

Common disorders of the immune system

Overactivity of the immune system can cause:

  • Allergic diseases; and
  • Autoimmune diseases

Underactivity of the immune system (immunodefiency):

  • These can be inherited such as CVID and SCID
  • Sometimes arise as a result of medical treatment such as corticosteroids or chemotherapy
  • It can also be caused by another disease such as HIV/AIDS or certain types of cancer

Having an underactive immune system simply means that it does not function correctly and this makes people who have them vulnerable to infections and in the most sever cases, could be life-threatening.

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Immunoglobulin therapy

Immunoglobulin therapy

Immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, are used to treat people who are unable to make enough antibodies of their own or those whose antibodies don't work properly.

This can be delivered through:

  • a drip into the vein - IVIg (intravenous immunoglobulin); or
  • it can be delivered into the fatty tissue under the skin - SCIg (subcutaneous immunoglobulin)

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Immunization

Immunization

The immunization process works by copying the body's natural immune response. We are then injected with vaccines that contain the same germs that cause the diseases but they have been either killed or wekaned to the point that they don't make you severely sick; others contain only a part of the disease germ.

However, the immunizations we may need are decided by our health, age, lifestyle and occupation. So it's best to consult with your doctor first, before anything else.

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