Your child’s immune system is what defends his or her body from harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Germs like bacteria, viruses, and fungi, as well as poisons, fall under this category (chemicals made by microbes). Organs, cells, and proteins all work together to form the immune system. Your immune system protects your body from infections and other harmful things that try to get in. If you didn’t have it, bacteria and viruses would make you sick all the time.
Your immune system is made up of special cells, tissues, and organs that work together to keep you safe.
There are 2 main parts of the immune system
1-The innate immune system
2-The adaptive immune system
The innate immune system
This is the quick response system for your child. It is the first thing to do when an intruder is found. It is made up of the skin, the cornea of the eye, and the mucous membrane that lines the respiratory, digestive, and genitourinary tracts. All of this help protect your child’s body by making physical barriers. They protect against germs, parasites (like worms), or cells that are bad for you (such as cancer). The innate immune system is something you are born with. It starts to work as soon as your child is born. When this system spots an intruder, it moves right away to stop them. The invader is surrounded and covered by cells from this immune system. The invader dies inside the cells of the immune system (called phagocytes).
2-The adaptive immune system
With help from the innate system, the acquired immune system makes special proteins called antibodies that protect your body from a certain type of invader. After the body has been exposed to the invader, cells called B lymphocytes to make these antibodies. The antibodies stay in the body of your child. Antibodies can take several days to form. But after the first time, the body’s immune system will be able to recognize the invader and fight it. Your child’s immune system changes as he or she grows up. Immunizations teach your child’s immune system to make antibodies that protect them from getting sick.
A picture of how the immune system works
A big part of the immune system is the lymph, or lymphatic, system. It is a network of vessels and lymph nodes. Lymphatic vessels are thin tubes that branch out all over the body, just like blood vessels. They carry lymph, which is a clear fluid. Lymph contains fluid from the tissues, waste products, and cells from the immune system. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped groups of immune system cells that are linked by lymphatic vessels. They have white blood cells that catch viruses, bacteria, and other invaders, including cancer cells.
The immune system is made up of white blood cells. The bone marrow, which is a lymph organ, is where they are made. The spleen and thymus are two other lymphatic organs.
How can your immune system go wrong?
An immune system disorder is when your immune system doesn’t work the way it should. You may:
I have had a weak immune system since birth. This is called a lack of a primary immune system.
Get sick with something that makes your immune system weaker. This is called an acquired immune deficiency.
have an overactive immune system. If you have an allergic reaction, this could happen.
You have an immune system that works against you. Autoimmune disease is the name for this.
Immune system disorders
Here are some common examples:
Severe combined immune deficiency (SCID) This is an example of a birth defect that affects the immune system. There is always a chance that bacteria, viruses, or fungi will make a child sick. People sometimes call this disorder “bubble boy disease.” In the 1970s, a boy had to live in a plastic bubble that was kept clean. Children with SCID don’t have enough white blood cells, which is important.
temporary acquired immune deficiencies. Some medicines, for example, can make your immune system less strong. This can happen to people who are taking chemo or other medicines to treat cancer. It can also happen to people who have had an organ transplant and are taking medicine to keep their bodies from rejecting the new organ. Also, viruses and diseases like the flu, mono (mononucleosis), and measles can temporarily weaken the immune system. Your immune system can also get weaker if you smoke, drink too much, or don’t eat well.
AIDS. HIV is a virus that is caught and causes AIDS. It kills important white blood cells and makes the immune system weaker. Infections that most people can fight off make people with HIV/AIDS very sick. Because they take advantage of weak immune systems, these infections are called “opportunistic infections.”
An immune system that works too hard
If you were born with certain genes, your immune system might react to harmless things in the environment. Allergens are the name for these things. Having an allergic reaction is the most common sign that your immune system is working too hard. Some allergens are dust, mold, pollen, and food.
Some conditions caused by an immune system that works too hard are:
Asthma. Your lungs can react by making you cough, wheeze, and have trouble breathing. Common allergens like dust or pollen or irritants like tobacco smoke can cause asthma attacks.
Eczema. Atopic dermatitis is an itchy rash that is caused by an allergen.
rhinitis from allergies. Sneezing, a runny nose, sniffling, and swelling of your nasal passages from indoor allergens like dust and pets or outdoor allergens like pollen or molds.
In autoimmune diseases, the body goes after healthy, normal tissues. No one knows what happened. It’s likely that a person’s genes and something in their environment works together to make those genes work.
These are three common autoimmune diseases:
The cells in the pancreas that make insulin are hurt by the immune system. Insulin takes sugar out of the blood so that it can be used as fuel.
Rheumatoid joint disease.
This kind of arthritis makes the joints swell and change shape. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis have an auto-antibody called rheumatoid factor in their blood.
This disease attacks the skin, lungs, and kidneys, among other parts of the body. People with lupus have many different kinds of auto-antibodies in their blood.
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