How does my immune system work?

Your immune system keeps out and fights disease.  When an invader enters your body, your immune system is activated. This could be as simple as a sneeze when pollen is inhaled or more complex, like white blood cells multiplying to fight the invader. Your immune system works in many wonderful ways.

Here are two terms you should know:

Antigens are the bad guys that your armies attack. Antigens come from pathogens or germs. When the immune system senses these antigens (bad guys), it releases antibodies, proteins that attach to antigens, keeping them from harming the body. Do you remember how antibodies are created? Yes, by the white blood cells.

A high concentration of white blood cells in an area means that they are fighting infection. About 60% of your immune fighting cells are in your gut!!! (  In fact, your gut, your skin and the mucous membranes that line your mouth, nose, throat, sinuses and lungs represent more than 70% of your immune system.

 Did You Know? Your skin is a major part of your immune system – it keeps pathogens out!  It’s your first line of defense, so to speak, so take care of it (click here to read about skin care)  and be careful when it has been compromised (when you have a cut, lesion or rash). Your skin is an organ and rashes are an indication that something is wrong.



What else does your immune system do besides fight invading germs and viruses?

Your immune system stores information. It remembers old battles. Why? So it can send out a newer and stronger army to more quickly defeat that same invader. This is how vaccines work and the way the flu shot works: You are injected with a bit of the virus so that your body makes a small army to fight it. The next time it enters your body you are ready to defeat the invader without much effort. This is a good thing. Really good.

A vaccine is a prepared combination of weakened pathogens  of a particular nature (think measles) put into your body to coax your immune system into creating antibodies to that particular pathogens. So if that pathogen invades your system in a more potent capacity, your body will know how to respond and defeat it. Cool, eh?



Since your immune system is responsible for keeping YOU as healthy as possible, YOU need to keep your immune system as healthy as possible! On this website you can read up on nutrition, sleep issues, mental health, the effects of past experiences, (and much more in the Your Self Series of books) – these are just a few of the areas that will help you to keep your immune system strong!

Remember that

  • what you eat,

  • how often you exercise,

  • the vitamins you take,

  • how stressed out you feel and how you manage your stress, click here to learn more!

  • the way you breathe, (deep breathing calms the system)

  • your outlook on life, and

  • the amount of sleep you get,

are all ways that you help or hurt your immune system.

If you help keep your immune system healthy, it will do its best to keep you healthy.

I think that’s what people mean by a win-win situation, right?

Uh, Steve,  what are you still doing here? NIcki image

Oh nothing, really, I was totally bored and just wanted to make sure everyone remembered to read the last bit on inflammation…..


Post Question: What is your best tip for staying healthy and keeping your immune system working well?

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