Understanding the Immune System

Inside your body there is a protection mechanism called the immune system. It is designed to defend you against millions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites that are waiting to invade your body.

The Immune System is made up of hundreds of different mechanisms and processes that are all kicked into action when it comes under threat from various ‘insults’ such as viruses, bacteria and pollutants. An example, are the cytokines which bring immune cells to the site of infection, to promote healing.

Inflammation is one of the first responses of the immune system to infection. The signs of inflammation, redness and swelling, are caused by increased blood flow into tissues.

Due to the environment we live in today we are constantly surrounded by these threats and having and maintaining a healthy Immune System becomes really important.

Threats to the Immune System – Viruses

The most common threat to your immune system is from viruses. A virus is a tiny disease causing particle that likes to live in your body’s cells.

The virus that most of us know about is the common cold virus.  Although more than 200 viruses can cause a common cold, the rhinovirus is the most common culprit, and it is highly contagious.

A cold virus enters your body through your mouth or nose, but it is likely you also had a “hand” in your own illness. The virus can spread through droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks. But it also spreads by hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold or by using shared objects, such as utensils, towels, toys or telephones. Touch your eyes, nose or mouth after such contact or exposure, and you’re likely to “catch” a cold.