The first thing to understand is how our bodies fight off infection, what we call the “immune system.” Our bodies have a number of ways of clearing itself of organisms that are potentially harmful. The first line of defense is the skin which keeps out the vast majority of pathogens that we encounter on a daily basis. When a pathogen gets past the skin by entering the lungs or digestive system through the nose or mouth, the body throws an obvious inflammatory response. This can be the production of mucous in the nose or lungs, the classic stuffy nose and cough. This is enough for a number of invaders, such as the rhinovirus which results in the classic cold. (Note that the symptoms of a cold that make us feel “sick” do not result from the virus itself, but from the immune system’s response to the invader.) For others, such as norovirus, one of the viruses behind “food poisoning,” the response is vomiting and diarrhea in order to more forcibly eject the virus from the body. And for others, like measles and chicken pox, fever and rashes are caused by the body’s attempts to rid itself of the virus. It’s very important that the immune system be capable of mounting these inflammatory defenses in order to keep the body intact and working well.
Please follow and like us: