How the Body Fights Infections

Topics: Immune system, White blood cell, T cell Pages: 5 (1721 words) Published: February 23, 2013
Secret Fighters 2
The human body was designed to protect itself against harmful germs in order to stay alive. The most vital mechanism aiding that process would be the immune system. The human immune system is working non-stop, everyday, and every second. There are millions of germs, bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins, and parasites that float around us day by day; and the fact that we are not affected by most of them is because our immune system keeps these microscopic particles from invading our bodies. However, sometimes the immune system may miss one of the harmful germs and the body becomes sick. Even though it was missed once, the immune system uses special white blood cells to attack harmful bacteria (Nordqvist, 2012, p. 1). The immune system always fights to get rid of the foreign particles and eventually the body is back to normal. Sometimes the revival process is aided by an extra intake of water, vitamins, medicines, antibiotics, and sometimes even surgery. When the body has foreign particles, such as a virus or a bacterium (singular for bacteria), the body sends out cells to recognize it. Once these cells find out what the invader is, the body launches a defense response to kill the infection. The immune system puts up a fight and gets the body back to normal. Once the body is back to normal, the immune system can create memory cells, which will protect from future infections. Symptoms are the body’s way of responding to an infection. Symptoms help the body get rid of the infection by telling the immune system what cells need to be activated to fight off the invading foreign particles. According to Gwaltney and Hayden (2007), “The immune system contains a variety of natural substances called inflammatory mediators. Inflammatory mediators help protect the body from infection and other harmful events” (p. Secret Fighters 3

5). For instance, with the common nasal cold, inflammatory mediators are released when a nasal cell is infected with a cold virus. Which in turn causes mucus gland secretion, reflexes of sneezing and coughing, and stimulates pain nerve fibers. Although having symptoms are not necessary for fighting an infection, seventy five percent of people with infections suffer from some type of symptom. Medicine is usually taken to make a person feel better. Most medicines found in a drug store are just generalized medicines for many different types of people fighting the same type of infections, like the common cold. Most of these medicine just help relieve the symptoms of an infection but not the actually infection itself. Prescribed medications that a person can get from a pharmacy are more specific for one certain person or one certain infection and can better fight the infection and help relieve the symptoms. Antibiotics are a stronger type of medication that can only be prescribed by a doctor after being seen by one. Nordqvist states, “Antibiotics, also known as antibacterial, are types of medications that destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria. The Greek word anti means against, and the Greek word bios means life" (Nordqvist, 2012, p. 1). Pain relievers are also usually prescribed with an antibiotic to accommodate the painful symptoms. It is stated that, “while the antibiotic is starting to fight the bacteria, you might still feel achy and hot, so the doctor might… also give you a pain reliever. Pain relievers can't make you well, but they do help you feel better while you're getting well” (Gavin, 2010, p. 3). When the body is fighting off infections, it can be very tired and weak. According to Brian (2012), his definition of being sick is “your body… [is not] able to perform at its full potential” ( p. 3) The immune system uses up a large majority of the bodies energy to fight Secret Fighters 4

off infection. It leaves little to no energy for other bodily function and to perform a normal daily routine. When doctors give their patients advice, they always include ‘get plenty of...
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