The immune system refers to the system of your body that helps it to recognize, and fight the various viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances that are harmful. It protects your body from all harmful substances.
It quickly identifies antigens and responds to them. Antigens are substances that are present on the surface of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Some nonliving substances can also act as antigens like drugs, foreign particles, toxins, and chemicals.
The immune system destroys antigens after identifying them quickly. Certain proteins are present in the human body cells that are antigens. They include an antigen group called HLA antigens. Your immune system does not react to these antigens and recognizes them as normal.
Nonspecific or innate immunity refers to the defense system that you have by birth. It works to protect you against all types of antigens. Innate immunity contains barriers that stop harmful substances from entering your body.
These barriers are involved in the formation of the first line of defense in your immune system. Following are the examples of innate immunity.
- Cough reflex
- Enzymes in skin oils and tears
- Stomach acid
- Mucus which traps small particles and bacteria
Innate immunity is present in a protein chemical form that is called innate humoral immunity. Its examples are the body’s complement system and certain substances that are called interferon and interleukin-1. If antigen enters these barriers then other parts of the immune system quickly destroy it.
When you become exposed to different antigens, you develop specific immunity that is called acquired immunity. Your immune system starts building a defense against these specific antigens.
If antibodies are not produced in your body, they can lead to passive immunity. In infants, certain antibodies are transferred in their bodies from the mother through the placenta. These antibodies start disappearing between the age of six to twelve months.
Antiserum injection can also cause passive immunization. It contains some antibodies that do produce in the body of an individual. These antibodies produce in any other animal or person and do not provide protection for a longer time.
The immune system contains specific types of white blood cells. It also contains proteins and chemicals like interferon, antibodies, and proteins.
Some of these substances attack the foreign substances directly in the body while others start working together to help the cells of your immune system. Lymphocytes are one of the types of white blood cells and have two types that are T and B lymphocytes.
B lymphocytes become certain cells that are involved in the production of antibodies. These antibodies are associated with specific antigens and make the process of destroying antigen easy for your immune system. T lymphocytes work to help your immune system in controlling response.
They directly start attacking antigens. As the development of lymphocytes occurs, they start making differentiation between the tissues of your own body and the substances that are not developed in your body. After the formation of T and B cells, a few cells start multiplying.
These cells work to provide memory for the human immune system. It helps your immune system to give a faster response. In this way, it works in an efficient way if you expose yourself to the same antigen in the future. It saves you from getting sick in different cases.
When bacteria injure the tissues, inflammatory responses can appear. Some toxins, heat, and trauma can also cause inflammation. There may be other causes that lead to inflammation. Damaged cells start releasing certain chemicals like bradykinin, histamine, and prostaglandins.
These chemicals cause the leakage of fluid into the areas of tissues from your blood vessels. This process induces swelling and isolates foreign substances from getting in contact with your body tissues.
Chemicals work to attract certain white blood cells that are known as ‘phagocytes’. They eat damaged and dead cells. Phagocytes also eat germs. This process is known as phagocytosis. They may die themselves after eating the damaging substances.
If dead tissues start accumulating, the formation of pus can occur. The accumulation of dead tissue, bacteria, and dead phagocytes can occur. If you ever notice that your immunity is weak, consult your doctor.
Weak immunity can lead to several conditions related to your health. It’s better to take effective medications to enhance your immunity in order to live a healthy life.