Understanding How Your Immune System Works (A Cartoon Story)

Ever wonder how your immune system works and how to improve its functioning? Here is a basic outline told in cartoon superhero style.

The immune centers of your body are located in the tonsils, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow.

From these centers your immune cells circulate around your body, looking for the "bad guys", foreign bodies, or antigens which can appear in the form of viruses, bacteria, and even pollen.

When a disease is found by your immune cells their response depends both on the disease and on the particular immune cell.

Phagocytes (a type of white blood cell) actually engulf, absorb, or eat pathogens. Phagocytes also consume "dead cells" in our body, and play an important roll in allowing wounds to heal.

Lymphocytes attack antigens by creating antibodies, or toxic granules.

Lymphocytes also destroy cells which have been infected by a virus, and tag antigens to be attacked later.

After defeating a particular disease lymphocytes will keep a profile and remember the disease throughout your life. Should it appear again, they will quickly eliminate it.

This memory effect of immune cells led to the idea of a vaccine: weakened antigens which could be injected into your body.

Your immune system can then "practice" on this weakened form of a disease.

The next time a disease enters your body, your immune system draws upon its memory to quickly defeat it.

Common vaccines include the measles, mumps, chicken pox, and, Tetanus.

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