The Immune System BODY'S DEFENDERS

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM DEFENDS THE BODY FROM MANY TYPES OF INVADERS.

What are the Body Parts of the Immune System?

*Spleen and Thymus will be discussed in other body systems

Adenoids: A patch of tissue at back of nasal cavity that trap harmful bacteria and viruses that you breathe in or swallow. Important to babies and little kids, but shrink after age 5 and almost disappear by the time you are a teenager.They swell when fighting infection causing a stuffy nose, snoring, sore throat, and ear problems. You may need antibiotics if they get infected or taken out in a surgery.

Tonsils: Masses of tissue on the left and right at the back of your throat that fight germs that come through your nose and mouth. Sometimes bacteria and viruses infect them causing tonsillitis (hard to swallow, fever, bad breath, yellow/white patches at back of throat). You may have the bacteria strep and need antibiotics, but if it is a virus your body will fight it off. If tonsils get infected a lot in a year making it hard to breath, you may have them removed in a surgery (usually with the adenoids).

Lymph nodes: Small, bean shaped glands that filter germs out of the body. They have special cells to fight infections. The vessels carry the fluid containing white blood cells between tissues and the blood stream. The nodes will swell when fighting germs.

Peyer's patches: Tissue found in the small intestine that monitor and prevent the growth of bacteria in the intestines.

Appendix: Small, finger-shaped sacs attached to the large intestine. It has no known function in the body. If you get a BAD pain by your belly button (may be due to an infection in the intestines), you may have an appendicitis and need a surgery to take out the appendix.

Skin: largest organ that covers and protects your body. It also helps keep your body at the right temperature. Wash your skin with warm water and mild soap to keep it healthy. Cover scrapes and cuts to keep dirt and germs out to prevent infections. Besides drinking lots of water, use a moisturizer like lotion to keep skin hydrated.

Bone marrow: think, spongy kind of jelly inside the bones that makes blood cells including white blood cells (WBCs)that fight off infections. WBCs either chew up invading germs or allow body to remember and recognize previous invaders.

HOW CAN YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM?

  1. Wash you hands: after going to bathroom, before eating, before touching your face (brushing teeth, rub eye/nose).
  2. Eat healthy nutritious food (meat, fruits, vegetables).
  3. Get enough sleep (school-age children need 9-11 hours).
  4. Regular medical checkups (yearly).

Bonus Information: AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES

What problems can happen with the immune system?

IMMUNOLOGISTS: doctors who are specialists in immune system problems; teach you ways to take care of yourself to stay strong to fight off illness

Allergies: the immune system overreacts to something that is harmless as something really dangerous.

Lupus: immune system gets confused and make autoantibodies (attack normal/healthy cells). This makes a person feel run down. weak, nauseated.

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA): swelling of joints making it hard to move. Kids with JRA take medicine and need to keep their joints moving.

HIV and AIDS: HIV is a virus that gets into the blood and infects and destroys white blood cells. If they can no longer fight off infections, they get very sick and are diagnosed with a disease: AIDS.

Cancer: when the body makes cells that are not normal. The cells grow quickly and take over normal cells and can spread to other parts of the body if not treated.

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