The Immune System and the Flu

By Travis Draper

Step 1: The Virus Entering the Body

How the Virus Enters the Body

If a person with the flu virus is near you, watch out. If they sneeze or cough, their virus will be emitted into the atmosphere where it will then have the potential of entering your body. The virus particles that are flying through the air may end up being inhaled by you. If they are indeed inhaled by you, they can attach themselves to your cells where they will then begin reproducing.The virus is covered with things little things that are referred to as keys. When the virus approaches a cell, the keys from the virus can fit into the "locks" on the cell. If they successfully fit, the virus will enter the cell, and the virus will successfully be entered into your body. To see this in action, watch the video below!
Flu Attack! How A Virus Invades Your Body

Step 2: The Spread of the Virus

How the Virus Spreads

After successfully arriving inside a cell in your body, the virus goes to the nucleus and begins a rapid process of recreating more viruses which begins with the virus going through a factory-like particle. This particle threads the nuclear material, or instruction code, creating new sets of instructions for soon to be viruses. The copied nuclear material that is made is transported outside of the nucleus and into other particles that take them in and create proteins. These proteins then go back inside the nucleus. Once back inside the nucleus, they are reassembled into baby viruses. These baby viruses exit the nucleus and then go toward the surface of the cell. After many new viruses have reached the surface of the cell, they erupt and get released into your body, hoping to attach to more cells to repeat the process.

Your Body Can Fight Back

The Immune System

Your body has a powerful immune system that will fight against the millions of virus particles that are created. In your immune system, there are two types of defenses, specific and non-specific. The non-specific defenses are innate and include your skin, stomach acid, mucus, cilia, enzymes, and phagocytes. Together, these things fight off foreign material in your body. Specific defenses include B and T cells, which are created by your body. Together, the cells ward off infections. Both of the cells are types of white blood cells, but T cells identify and kill foreign invaders, whereas B cells create antibodies that bind to antigens and help destroy them before they can enter.

How the Flu Shot Helps

The Flu Shot

When you get a flu shot, your body begins to develop antibodies. If you end up coming in contact with a flu virus, your body will recognize it and remember it as an invader, thus immediately attacking it. The flu shot is used to create, and hopefully develop immunity to, three different types of the flu, the ones that are the most common in the flu season. Without the flu shot, your body is forced to locate, interpret, and then attack the virus. Unfortunately, this process can be slower than the virus, leading your body being immersed in the virus. However if you have gotten a flu shot, your body simply has to recognize and then attack the virus. This process is much quicker and much more beneficial to your body.