Until recently, advances in modern medicine did not give cause for excitement. Antibiotics, vaccines, vaccinations - it seemed that all infections were under human control. But the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that infectious diseases have not ceased to be a threat. Interest in immunity has recently increased so much that the main goal of all mankind has become to find an answer to the question: “How to strengthen immunity? How to protect yourself from infection?
The year of the beginning of modern immunology is considered to be 1786. It was then that the village doctor Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids who had had vaccinia virus were not susceptible to the variola virus, which was deadly at the time. Jenner identified a relationship: women have formed a defense that protects them from contracting a more serious disease.
Over the next centuries, science has stepped forward in the study of our immune system.
Immunity is the defense system of our body against something alien, dangerous to us. The defense reaction begins from the moment the enemy "agent" is recognized, then it is removed and the negative traces of this infection in the body are eliminated.
In the structure of immunity, 2 types can be distinguished: congenital and acquired. The innate immunity works immediately. His soldiers: phagocytes, interferons, inflammatory mediators. As soon as the enemy is seen, it is destroyed. Acquired immunity is more complex. When an enemy is detected, the body forms an immune response, creates specialized cells against this infectious agent, and only then eliminates it. This type of immunity allows you to remember the infection and react much faster the next time. Thus, in the memory of the acquired immunity there is a whole list of our "enemies". Moreover, this list is individual for each person.
Special organs are responsible for the production of cells participating in the body's defense. These are the thymus gland (or thymus) and bone marrow. Maturation and selection of cells takes place in them. And the launch of these processes is helped by the lymph nodes located in the area of large joints (shoulder, elbow, knee, hip) and in the neck. They, connected by lymphatic vessels, serve as filters for antigens, delaying them and activating protective reactions.
Also, immunity depends on the intestinal microflora. It is believed that 70% of the immune system is located there. The task of this area is to recognize dangerous particles entering through the oral cavity and neutralize them, and let the less dangerous particles pass further, so that the body reacts to them and develops protective cells.
Thus, immunity is a collection of all organs and cells in the body that recognize and destroy foreign substances. Represented by completely different cells and organs, the immune system acts as a single defense mechanism, constantly strengthening and improving under the influence of external factors.
Why are we still sick? If the immune system is constantly on guard, why do certain bacteria or viruses cause disease in us?
Because we live surrounded by microbes and it is impossible to completely isolate ourselves from them. But this is not necessary! After all, there are not only “bad” bacteria, but also “good” bacteria. And in small quantities, they are like a free vaccine - they only increase our defenses. Therefore, sterilizing everything around and constantly drinking antibiotics is completely unnecessary and even harmful. In order to prevent infection, it is enough to maintain your immune system and wash your hands thoroughly. We cannot influence the actions of infected people, but we can adjust our lifestyle and increase our level of protection.
Now, when most countries talk about the introduction of quarantine, when we are forced to stay at home, we need to think about preventive measures and maintaining health. Against the background of isolation, the usual regime is disrupted, the sleep schedule is knocked down, physical activity is practically at zero, and bad habits in the diet, on the contrary, take up. A lot of sweets, alcohol, an excessive amount of food - all this in the long term negatively affects the immune system and the state of the body as a whole.