How Your Body Defends You Every Day!
I want to share a little analogy with you today. I learned this from my Veterinarian about 40 years ago. It’s about the army of defenders (aka Our Immune Systems) that we all have in our bodies. They are called “Antibodies.” They are found in both animal and humans. They defend us against “Antigens”—The invaders (microbiological organisms primarily bacterial, viral and more).
Definition: “Antibody”–Wikipedia, dictionary.reference.com/browse/antibody “specialized proteins that defend against foreign substances in the body. They are produced by our white blood cells known as B lymphocytes (B-Cells).”
Definition: “Antigen” Dictionary.reference.com/browse/antigen Dictionary.com “Antigen”-a toxin or other foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies.
Antigen definition: Immunology: any substance that can stimulate the production of antibodies and combine specifically (coding) with them. When an Antigen binds to the B-cell surface, it stimulates the B-cell to divide and mature into a gigantic group of Antibodies (aka) identical cells called clones.
This lays the foundation for understanding how our immune systems are designed to respond “individually” to the particular antigens that each individual comes in contact with. When an antigen (it could be bacteria, virus, mycoplasma or other invader) enters your body having contact with your blood stream, your own personal army of antibodies become “coded” to that particular antigen. Then, the miraculous part is that the antibodies immediately replicate and clone millions more of the same coded antibodies that will target only that particular antigen (or invader). These would be from newly formed antibodies that have not yet been coded to have a receptor that is keyed to that antigen. They are “neutral” until such contact happens.
Once B-Cells have contact with an invader, they are coded and are ONLY able to fight and defend against that one particular invader and not any others. It is very important to understand this process of exposure to an invader which programs your immune system to go after only this specific invader which they first come into contact with. If the invader is very high in numbers, it codes your B-cell Antibodies to fight this one particular enemy. This MIGHT leave you open to attack by a second invader trying to grow another army which might possibly get out of control.
“STREET EXPOSURE” vs “FRANK EXPOSURE”
~Understanding the difference between a “Street Exposure” and a “Frank Exposure” to an invader.~
If you go shopping and touch doors, pick up items, or try on clothing as examples, you most likely are going to have a “Street Exposure” to some pathogens or antigens from other people. Most likely this will not cause you enough exposure to this disease to make you sick. Since they are likely lower in numbers, older, not nutritionally or environmentally encouraged, they may not have the strength to cause you to become sick. Their ability to multiply is also diminished. But they might allow your body to have a smaller number exposure which will act like a vaccination and your body could possibly mount a small reaction of antibodies coded to this mild exposure.
This “Street Exposure” is how children develop their immune systems to accommodate many different pathogens which are common and frequently found in daily life. This diluted exposure builds our immune systems and makes them more diverse, stronger and capable of defending us.
Street Exposure is commonly called “Herd Exposure” whether the individuals are humans, birds, cows or other members of a large body.
Let’s look at a “Frank Exposure” to a serious pathogenic antigen such as pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Strep, E-coli, salmonella and many others. These are considered pathogens because they “have the ability” to cause HARM to the host or person. A frank exposure such as “direct contact” with a person who is sick or has been similarly exposed in a hospital or travel, where the microorganism is fresh, strong, huge in numbers and reproducing quickly in a friendly environment. This is a serious problem for your immune system. If the army of the invaders is large and strong, it’s up to your immune system to mount a very strong defense very quickly by coding the new invasion, then cloning and multiplying very fast getting your body ready to go after and target this very dangerous invader.
If you can’t muster the needed army fast enough, you may need to be temporarily put on an antibiotic (designed to slow the progress of growth and reproduction of a bacterial pathogenic invader). Antibiotics, in most cases do not kill the pathogen, but are designed to slow down the reproduction speed of it to allow your own body to build its army against this pathogen so your body can keep up with the assault. Antibiotics do not work on most viruses but may protect from a bacterial secondary problem after a virus starts an invasion.
Even as you take an antibiotic for a while, your own antibodies are still working very hard to code and clone millions of antibodies to respond to the invader because when you stop taking the antibiotic, you will be depending on your own immune system, your own army of antibodies, now coded to that invader, to come to your rescue. That is its job.
It’s a numbers game, pretty much in every case. It’s your army against the invading army. While your army is coded specifically to the new invader, you should take every precaution to avoid exposure to any other invaders or microbiological pathogens. Since your primary army is coded to the first invader, that leaves you potentially exposed to a secondary invasion if you should get another frank exposure. Your army is dedicated to invader #1 and if invader #2 comes in with a big enough army, you might be vulnerable. This is why you should STAY HOME and avoid other people when you are sick. That’s the first reason, but you also do not want to expose other people to your pathogen.
By Sandra Lemire October 15th, 2015
About the Author: Sandra
I am a professional non-fiction writer, author of 5 books, plus 40 years of writing articles, short stories, research projects, microbiology studies as well as lecturing during those 40 years. I also have fully been engaged in being an entrepreneur having started nine businesses, including corporations, a sole proprietorship and an LLC. I also developed and produced approximately 20 products in the cosmetic industry, sold worldwide, most of which are still on the market today. I'm a born self-taught scientist, with a love of animals, people and health issues. Teaching and mentoring is the result of my passions to share many lessons with others who may benefit from them.
These Blogs are offered as the personal opinions, experiences and views of Sandra Turner Lemire with the addition of certain “links” gleaned from the internet and willing contributors. There is no presumption of expertise by any of these, and all readers are advised to rely on their own research and team of advisers for any decisions or actions on their own behalf. Remember that information is always in flux, especially from the Internet and links.