Your immune system plays a vital role in protecting you from illness and infection. However, there is a lot of misinformation floating around about how the immune system works. These are three facts you should know about your immune system.
- It Isn’t All About Antibodies
Many people picture the immune system functioning solely as developing antibodies in response to a foreign invader. However, cellular immune function chemistry also plays a role. Cellular immunity protects by generating antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells. It also helps destroy pathogens through the secretion of cytotoxic granules and cytokines. Cellular immunity is best at destroying virus-infected cells, but may also guard against fungi, cancers, intracellular bacteria and protozoans. It also plays a part in the rejection of transplanted organs.
- Fever and Inflammation Aren’t Always Bad
A lot of medical literature focuses on the damage that inflammation does to the body, making many people think that inflammation is inherently bad. However, while high fevers and excessive inflammation can be damaging, they can also be signs that your immune system is doing its job. Fever stimulates the release of pathogen fighting white blood cells and increases metabolism, which helps stop harmful organisms from multiplying. Inflammation is caused by the release of histamines, which cause pain, swelling, redness and heat that can limit the effects of the invading substance or organism.
- Lack of Sleep Can Harm Your Immune System, but Sun Can Help
If you are getting less than five hours of sleep per night, then your immune system is probably not functioning as well as it could be. However, getting some sunshine can give your immune system a boost.
There is a lot of advice out there about what you can do to improve your immune system. Not all of it is reliable, so make sure you do your research.