Once Upon A Time...I got the flu

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Mom I don't feel too good...

Once upon a time, I was twelve years old, when my body came down with a terrible cold. My nose was dripping, my cough was a fright, I started to wonder if I'd ever be alright! After laying in bed for a day or two, my mother told me that I've come down with the flu!


"MOM WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY BODY?!"

"Well you see sweetie, a pathogen, a microorganism that causes disease, has taken over your body which is making you feel sick."


"WHY DO I HAVE A RUNNY NOSE AND A FEVER?!"

"Your body is producing antigens that are protein markers that cause an immune response. Antibodies are the proteins made in response to antigens. Antibodies are designed to respond to a specific antigen and kill foreign bacteria or virus. Phagocytes then come in and "eat" the pathogen. The immune response,or your body's response to an antigen, is what happens when you have a runny nose,fever, or cough. These are all 2nd line of defense responses because they can happen whether you have strep throat, the common cold, or the flu.


"MOM CAN'T YOU JUST GIVE ME MEDICINE TO MAKE IT GO AWAY?!"

I'm afraid not. The flu is a viral infection meaning it cannot be cured with antibiotics. Antibiotics only kill bacteria because bacteria are alive and viruses are not. You cannot kill what is not alive.


"BUT MOM ITS BEEN 3 DAYS ALREADY!"

That means your cells are working hard to kill all of those invading pathogens. Your body is fighting against those aliens by producing white blood cells.


"WHAT IF I GET THE FLU AGAIN?"

Why I'm glad you asked! Your body has the memory of an elephant and it has memory cells that immediately recognize, attack and kill the same pathogen! So next time you get the flu, if you survive this time, your body will make you feel better much faster.


"WHAT DO YOU MEAN IF I SURVIVE?!"

Just eat your soup sweetie...