Written By Rishi Nair (Grade 4)
Our body is constantly being attacked by microorganisms, such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria. Somehow, the organisms don’t do much harm. How, you might be wondering, does the body defend against this constant attack of microbes? In this article, you will find out.
You might have heard of the five main systems: The Digestive System, the Nervous System, the Circulatory System, the Skeletal System, and the Muscular System. You might assume that these are the only systems in your body, but what if I told you, that there is a vast amount of systems and organs inside you, working to keep you alive. One of these systems, and one of the most important ones, is the Immune System. The Immune System, unlike the five main systems, is not comprised of large organs (Though there are some organs). It is comprised of things such as lymph nodes, lymph vessels, lymphocytes, white blood cells, bone marrow, skin, and much more. White blood cells, or leukocytes, continually scan the tissues and organs for anything that could be harmful. How?
The way they do this is when a foreign substance, called an antigen, manages to break your first line of defence, your skin, it enters your body. Then it begins to use up your body’s vital resources to multiply. Why? Because they cannot get their own resources. When the leukocytes detect this harmful activity in your body, they trigger an immune response. The body then relies on many different types of leukocytes to neutralize the threat, which are divided into two major cell groups. The Phagocytes, and the Lymphocytes. First, the Phagocytes order an army of Macrophages and Dendritic cells to enter the blood and destroy the unwanted guests. While this happens, the Phagocytes gather information about the threat and pass it to the second major cell group, the lymphocytes, who then produce memory cells. The group of alerted lymphocytes then destroys the rest of the enemies.
Meanwhile, the B Lymphocytes use information from memory cells to create a special kind of protein, called antibodies. The antibodies lock onto the enemy and destroy them with the information they have. The B cells continue to create the antibodies until the worst of the enemy is gone. Then, next time the same disease attacks the memory cells have an exact formula to defeat the enemy! While all this happens, the body takes extra measures, like high temperatures, because most bacteria cannot multiply in a heated body. And that is how, my friends, the immune system is battling for you. Of course, there are thousands of other ways the body defends itself, and they can differ between different organisms. Just remember, that the immune system needs healthy foods to do all this constantly.
I hope this article gave you a better understanding of the immune system, and as we are in a pandemic with a very deadly disease, the Coronavirus, I thought it would be helpful to know how our immune system works. So stay safe, stay home, and bye!
Featured Image Courtesy – Everyday Health