From the handrails on the bus to the cutlery in your staff canteen, the world is full of harmful pathogens. There’s no getting around them; everyday you find yourself exposed to countless bacteria and viruses.
Left unchecked, these would run rampant through your body, resulting in any number of diseases and illnesses.
Often the only thing standing between these pathogens and you is the effectiveness of your immune system.
What is the immune system?
Generally considered one of our greatest evolutionary advantages, the immune system is your body’s biological response system that protects you against disease. It works by specifically identifying harmful agents in your body, such as bacteria and viruses.
Once detected, these pathogens find themselves under attack from your immune system, which in most cases destroys them before they can do you proper harm.
Innate and adaptive
The immune system can be divided into two main layers: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system.
The innate immune system is a general first defence, responding broadly to a range of cellular alarms and distress signals in order to fight microbes in a general, non-specific way.
Our adaptive immune system is the next level of defence, evolved to offer a stronger, more specific response to harmful pathogens. It offers immunological memory, enabling tailored responses and faster defences against future reinfections.