How Your Immune System Protects You Against Illness
The human body provides an ideal environment for many infectious germs, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. Germs can invade your body in a number of ways. For instance, they can pass through your skin via a wound, flow into your lungs along with the air you breathe, or enter your digestive system on the food you eat. Once inside your body, germs can reproduce and thrive, infecting you and possibly making you ill.
Your immune system is designed to defend your body against illness-causing germs. This highly organized and complex network of cells, tissues, and organs works by recognizing the healthy cells that are normally present in your body and targeting and destroying any that are unfamiliar.
When a healthy immune system detects a foreign invader, it responds by launching an attack. It also recognizes that when one harmful germ is found, many more are probably lurking nearby. To address a specific threat, the immune system sends immune cells (lymphocytes) directly to the scene of a germ invasion. Some of these lymphocytes produce antibodies, which are specialized proteins that target certain germ invaders, locking onto them so that other lymphocytes can move in and destroy them.
Your immune system continually strengthens with experience. The first time your body comes into contact with a certain type of germ, it might take a few days for your immune system to create and use all of the antibodies and other germ-fighting components it needs to hack the germ’s “code” and eliminate the infection. Once produced, some of these antibodies will remain in your body, ready to perform their function again, if necessary. If your body is invaded by the same germ in the future, your immune system may remember it and fight it off faster, helping you to recover from the infection and feel better.
If you have any questions about preventing or treating infections, please contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL, and no appointments are necessary.