Our immune system maintains the integrity of our body by recognizing and separating our own from the alien organism. It protects us from external intruders and against infections caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites. This includes post-injury recovery mechanisms and elimination of degenerated cells as well as tumour protection. This is done 24 hours a day by our immune system, in a continuous standby mode, undetected.

Some of our immunity is born with us. In our lives, as we get more and more exposed, our immune system becomes more prepared, more mature – this is called acquired immunity. The defense mechanism happens in two ways: either by the help of antibodies produced by lymphocytes and/or by the help of phagocytes. The health of our immune system is based on the coordinated operation of cells specialized in different tasks. Cells in the immune system activate each other by hormone-like molecules. Some cells are to detect the alien intruders, others are to produce antibodies or destroy the alien bodies. Phagocytes fight the pathogens directly; others clean up the debris left after the “battle”. There are immune cells that keep the information we need for protection in their memory for the rest of our lives and when we need them, they ‘wake up’ and start to produce antibodies.

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