It's finally spring season! A delightful time indeed. Flowers, beautiful landscapes, lovely sun, barbecues and a good time with family and friends, is what most of us wait for throughout winter. For some people, this time becomes the perfect opportunity for allergies and other ailments.
One of the most common allergies experienced in the spring season is pollen allergy. If left untreated, this seemingly harmless allergy will severely affect your immunity and will make you prone to different diseases. The immune system is our best line of defence, one that prevents and efficiently fights infections naturally. That’s why the importance of the immune system needs to be understood.
What Is The Immune System?
To understand the importance of the immune system, you must know what your immune system is made of. The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins and different pathways through which the body fights infections.
Whenever the immune system encounters a foreign particle, called antigens (be it a virus, bacteria or fungus), it definitely becomes startled. But then, it finds ways to fight it off. Once the foreign particle is taken down, immunity develops against it. This means that the next time the same antigen enters the body, our body immediately recognizes it. And it starts a robust immune response to kill it quickly.
This healthy response comes from the memory it creates of the previous encounter with the foreign particle. So, every time the immune system encounters a new antigen, it does its best to beat it down. Once it takes the antigen down, a copy of its front warriors or the defence cells is made and stored as memory cells. Memory cells increase the importance of the immune system ten times, making them potent to fight infections.
How Does The Immune System Work?
The importance of the immune system also lies in its function. To understand the working of immune system, know that it is made up of these parts:
- White blood cells
- Lymphatic system
- Bone marrow
1.White Blood cells
When we talk about the importance of the immune system, we cannot ignore white cells. The white blood cells are the key players of an immune system, made from the bone marrow. The white blood cells are the immunity police. They patrol through the body on a lookout for any antigens. As soon as they encounter one, they launch an immune attack via different white blood cells such as T-cells, B-cells and natural killer cells.
Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins made by the body. These proteins attach to antigens so the entire body can recognize them as foreign particles. This identification tag definitely adds to the importance of the immune system in killing invaders.
The lymphatic system is a large fluid-filled network of tubes throughout the body that contains white blood cells, lymph nodes (that trap microbes), lymph vessels (that act as roads for the fluid to move). The lymphatic system deals with cancers, and reacts to bacteria, making the importance of the immune system undeniable.
Bone marrow is the spongy white tissue in the bones that produces white blood cells amongst many other cells.
The spleen filters the blood to remove any microbes. It is also responsible for making lymphocytes and antibodies amongst other cells.
The most notable role of the thymus in the importance of the immune system is its creation of T cells for immunity.
Do I Have A Weak Immune System?
Do you happen to fall sick now and then? Do you develop regular allergies or have a bad stomach? If yes, this is the importance of the immune system where it is letting you know that you are not strong.
If your immune system is weak, then your fight against illnesses can be compromised easily. It also means that while your defence system is fighting one ailment, another antigen can get easy access to your body to make you sicker.
The importance of the immune system definitely lies in providing your defence best defence against infections. It is nature's way to keep you healthy and strong. It protects you from antigens in the most natural way. And having strong immunity means that newer antigens such as the COVID-19 may have a hard time taking over your body.
Types of Immunity
Let’s Understand the importance of the immune system in terms of its types. Everyone has a different immune system. But generally, as you grow older, the immune system becomes stronger, as, by this time, you have already encountered many pathogens.
There are three types of immunity in humans called:
Each newborn is born with a certain level of immunity towards foreign invaders. Innate immunity generally includes the first line of defence of our immunity, which are the physical barriers in our bodies designed to keep foreign particles outside. The first line of the defence comprises our skin and the mucous membranes in the throat and the gut.
Adaptive or acquired immunity
Adaptive immunity is developed throughout life. In this type of resistance, the body simply creates a memory of its enemies for efficient battles in the future. This immunity initiated naturally or through the use of vaccines. Certain vaccines inject small amounts of foreign particles (often deactivated) for the body to recognize them and keep a record for protecting us.
Passive immunity is commonly known as borrowed immunity. This can occur naturally or be induced. Natural passive immunity is built when a mother passes antibodies through the placenta or breast milk to her child. This immunity may be induced by using antigens to quickly help the body reduce the symptoms of an ongoing disease. Or if the body's immune response is slow and it cannot produce antibodies, immunization helps deal with the problem.
We cannot just ignore the importance of the immune system. It is an absolute marvel and deserves special recognition for keeping us healthy day after day. Maybe if all of us knew it, we'd be more appreciative of our bodies and give it the standing ovation that it truly deserves!
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