The Body’s Military Forces

immune system     Your body is always working towards optimal health.  It has an internal wisdom that knows what to do in case of injury or invasion of any virus or bacteria.  As long as these injuries or invasions aren’t too overwhelming the body does just fine on its own.  It knows how to make its own bandages.  It knows how to make its own warriors to fight the bacteria.  When we have a simple cut or an everyday cold, the body heals itself.  If we have a major injury, the body needs some help, but even after that, it’s the body that eventually heals the wound.

Our immune system has a strategic plan to cover all types of attacks.  The immune system works on 3 different levels, so it has 3 different “military forces”.  This defense system uses barricades, traps and chemical warfare, each with specialized training and design to handle a specific type of invader.

1.  Barricades:  The skin is the largest organ in the body and it functions as a barrier against invasion by bacteria, viruses, pollutants, chemicals, temperature changes, ultraviolet rays, bumps, and abrasions.  It has nerve endings that quickly warn us if we touch something too hot, cold, or painful.  It also releases toxins and excess body heat.

2.  Traps:  Invaders are trapped in the mucous membranes like quicksand.  They are made harmless and are eliminated from the body by sneezing, coughing up phlegm, runny nose or through urine and/or stool.  A second line of traps are things like our eyelashes and nose hair.

3.  Chemical warfare:  Many body fluids contain protective elements.  For example, tears protect our eyes, skin secretes oils, and acid in the stomach neutralizes incoming invaders that we might ingest.

Immune Response – Non-specific

This is where the immune system’s first line workers will respond to a threat.  Any invaders that manage to breach the primary defenses must face the next level of strategic forces.  This is a non-specific line of defense, meaning it will respond to any threat.  The inflammatory response is the body’s initial reaction to injury or infection.  Symptoms include swelling, heat, redness, and pain.

The inflammatory response:

*Damage occurs (cut, bump, sprain, injury, infection)

*The tissues of the damaged site, white blood cells and platelets release chemicals that cause blood vessels to get bigger and bring more blood to the site that:

a.  Causes redness and heat

b.  Brings nutrients and oxygen to the site

c.  Creates heat to make the tissues become more active

d.  Cause blood capillaries to leak and cause swelling

e.  Stimulates pain receptors

f.  This swelling and pain causes decreased movement, which is the body’s way of immobilizing the area for a while, so energy can be spent on healing.

*More white blood cells are called to the battleground.  These white blood cells eat up all damaged or dead tissue, or foreign materials.

*More platelets are called to the site to create a clot, which eventually becomes a scab.  Scabs are Mother Nature’s bandages.

*Pus that is produced in severely infected areas contains a mixture of dead/dying white blood cells, broken down tissue cells, living and dead pathogens.  Failure to clear the area of this debris can result in an abscess, which may require surgical removal.  The immune system requires heavy duty support if this happens.

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