Our immune systems are truly amazing. Every day they have to keep constant vigilance for foreign pathogens in the body and on occasions at the drop of a hat they must identify and respond correctly to any of the countless enemy microbes that may be trying to invade! Our immune systems are so incredibly clever because they have to distinguish between what is good and what is bad in our bodies (our own cells and foreign cells) kill what doesn’t belong but being careful to leave behind what does. Split into 2 halves really, the first part of your immune system is the defences you were born with. These form before birth and are what are known as the innate system, the innate system spreads all over your body, through your blood, cells, and organs. The second part of your immune system is known as immunity and it develops as you grow/age once you’ve been introduced to a pathogen (bacteria, illness etc.) Because it develops as we age there’s always opportunity for making it stronger! Your ‘immunity’ gives you protection against specific pathogens but both systems work together to attempt organisms from entering and causing damage within the body.
These immune mechanisms also help eliminate abnormal cells of the body that can develop into chronic disease like cancer for example. Your body puts up a good fight for any pathogens looking to invade; our immune cells if strong are typically quite brilliant at recognising altered or foreign cells and then swiftly getting rid of them.
Your skin and mucous membranes are the first line of defence but if anything does manage to get past them then pathogens will be met by white blood cells, white blood cells are found in your bloodstream and are a collection of different cells that work together to destroy and engulf bacteria, viruses etc. This mechanism that the body uses to protect itself against disease and infections is known as the immune response. Every day in our busy lives were surrounded by viruses, bacteria, pathogens, and our wellness and overall health really depends on having a system that’s well enough to fight off these forms of infection. A person with a healthy immune system that may rarely get sick is protected by several lines of defence that include physical barriers, cells that secrete proteins to destroy pathogens, and strong fit cells that ingest pathogens.