Public Health


Immune system:
It is a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to defend the body and protect it from germs that may attack it (such as: bacteria and viruses) and that cause infections and diseases.

Immune system tasks:

  • Fighting disease-causing germs (such as: bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi) and removing them from the body.
  • Identify harmful substances from the environment and combat them.
  • Fighting disease-causing changes in the body (such as cancer cells).

Components of the immune system:

  • The skin and mucous membranes (lining the inside of the organs and body cavities), which are the first lines of defense in preventing germs and destroying them before they enter the body.
  • White blood cells, which are an essential part of the immune system and consist of many types of cells, each type has a specific important function in the body’s defense system.
  • Organs and tissues of the lymphatic system (such as: spleen, tonsils, glands, lymph vessels, and bone marrow) and their function is to produce, store, and carry white blood cells in the body.

How the immune system works in the body:
The immune system defends the body against substances that it deems harmful or foreign and are called “antigens.” They may be germs, chemicals, toxins, or other substances. When these antigens enter the body, the immune system performs an immune response by identifying the type of these antigens and making antibodies (Proteins produced by the body) that attack, weaken and destroy it. After that, the immune system remembers this antigen and can recognize it when it attacks the body again. This protection against a specific disease is called “immunity.”

Types of immunity:

  • Innate immunity: It is the protection that a person is born with and is considered the body’s first line of defense. It includes the skin and mucous membranes and its function is to prevent harmful substances from entering the body. It also contains some cells and chemicals that can attack foreign substances.
  • Active (active) immunity: This immunity is produced when exposure to a disease stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies to that disease. Active immunity can be acquired through natural immunity (infection with the disease) or by taking the vaccine, in both cases when the disease is attacked. The immune system in the future will recognize it and immediately produce the antibodies needed to combat it. Active immunity lasts for a long time, and sometimes lasts a lifetime.
  • Passive immunity: It occurs when the body is given antibodies to a disease instead of producing them through its own immune system. The newborn acquires passive immunity from its mother through the placenta, and passive immunity can be obtained through blood products containing antibodies (such as globulin Immunotherapy) which can be given when immediate protection from a particular disease is needed. The main advantage of passive immunity is that the protection is immediate yet only lasts for a few weeks or months.

Additional ways in which the immune system can be strengthened:

  • Eat healthy food that contains nutrients supporting immune function. This means focusing on fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, milk and free or low-fat dairy products, and limiting saturated fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.
  • Practicing physical activity on a regular basis helps you feel better, sleep better, reduce anxiety, and maintain a healthy weight. This includes at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as: brisk walking for 30 minutes per day for 5 days), in addition to two days of physical activity strengthening the muscle.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Excess weight (obesity) can affect body functions and weaken immune functions. Obesity may also reduce the effectiveness of vaccines for many diseases, so one of the safe ways to help maintain a healthy weight is to reduce stress, eat healthy foods, and get enough sleep and practice regular physical activity.
  • Get enough sleep, as lack of sleep can negatively affect different parts of the immune system.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking increases the risk of developing immune system problems, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Last Update : 25 September 2023 03:25 PM
Reading times :