A Simplified Introduction to Immunity and its types
Immunity is a word that we heard the most in the past two years. Covid19 has proven the importance of immunity precisely. Let’s know more about their types and specific functions here.
What is immunity? Immunity refers to the body’s ability to counter the sudden attack or entry of pathogens. Pathogens are foreign disease-causing agents like bacteria and viruses. Antigens get attached to the surface of pathogens and induce an immune response in the body. This immune response is the defense mechanism that fights against pathogens and protects our body
Factors affecting immunity:
There are some factors that affect our immunity. Let’s have a look at them
Small children and elderly people have weaker immunity when compared to adults. It takes eight to ten years for a child to develop a complete immune system. When a person grows older, their immune system also gets deteriorated. This is the reason why elderly people have a less immune response to a disease.
Nutrition plays a major role in the immune response. Following a proper and healthy diet regularly will help us in improving the immune system. Macronutrients such as proteins are needed for our body to fight off infections. Micronutrients such as vitamin c iron, and zinc help in strengthening the immune system
Every individual has to follow a good lifestyle, which includes intake of balanced food, sufficient amount of water, and at least eight hours of sleep every day. Physical activities will also account for it. These things make your immune system more active and stronger. Any objection to these kinds of activities will surely lead to a worsening of the immune system.
Types of immunity
This type of immunity is acquired by birth, also called native immunity. It counters any germs that invade our body. The immune response is generated immediately or within a few hours of entry of pathogens. It is non-specific and doesn’t know what type of antigen is entering the body but it quickly responds to it. It also notifies the acquired immune system about the pathogen’s invasion for further responses.
Adaptive immunity is also known as acquired immunity. It is composed of specialized and systemic cells, which eliminate the pathogen out of our body and prevents further growth. Adaptive immunity develops as we encounter more number of pathogens throughout our lifetime. This type of immunity is specific and targets only a specific pathogen. It provides long-term immunity through immunological memory.
2a )Active acquired immunity:
Exposure to pathogens will develop B-cells and T-cells in our bodies. T cells help to wipe out the infected cells and eliminate invading pathogens. B-cells create antibodies and help T-cells. Active acquired immunity can be natural or artificial.
When a person is exposed naturally to the pathogens due to infection, antibodies have developed that fight against the pathogens.
When the infection is created artificially in a controlled manner the immunity acquired is artificial in nature. This can be seen in the case of vaccination. Vaccination mimics a particular disease, which further develops an immune response in the vaccinated individual without making them ill.
Passive acquired immunity:
Readymade antibodies are given to a patient to fight against a particular infection or disease. However, there is no exposure to germs. The body does not develop immunological memory. This response is short-term, and cannot defend against future infections. Passive immunity can also be natural or artificial.
Some antibodies from the mother’s body reach the fetus through the placenta. Other antibodies are passed through breast milk. This provides protection to the newborn whose immune system is still developing. The antibodies passed from the mother are known as maternal antibodies and belong to the class of IgG and IgA antibodies.
Readymade antibodies are introduced into patients, whose immune system is very weak. These types of patients do not produce any kind of antibodies by their own. Antibodies from a previously infected person are taken and given to the patient’s bloodstream. It is also produced using recombinant DNA technology.
Community or Herd immunity:
When more number of people in a community are immune to a specific type of infection, then the people who are not immune in that community will also be protected. This is an indirect form of immunity. This happens because of breaking the chain of spreading. Vaccination plays a major role in this type of immunity. When you follow the proper vaccination process, you can protect yourself as well as others from a specific infection.
The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while the nature cures the illness...
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