Immune Response


Julia Cerra

It's the time of year again when people are passing around holiday goodies, good cheer, and lots of GERMS. It was last fall when I was lucky enough (or not), to get sick with Strep Throat.

Pathogen: Streptococcus bacteria is a pathogen that causes strep throat. Pathogens are organisms that cause disease and illness.

Antigen: Antigens are protein markers on all cells. They are foreign substances that invade the body.

Antibody: Antibodies are proteins made by the body in response to antigens. The antibodies bind to the antigens. They mark the antigen for destruction and cause pathogens to clump together. Once produced these antibodies continue to exist in a person's body so that if the same antigen is present in the immune system again, the antibodies are already there to do their job.

Immune Response: An immune response if how your body recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses, and substances that appear foreign and harmful.

Phagocyte: A phagocyte is a cell such as a white blood cell, that engulfs and absorbs waste material, harmful microorganisms, or other foregn bodies in the bloodstream and tissues.

During the immune response the bacteria could be spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or sharing bodily fluids by drinking the same water etc. When this happens it breaks through the first line of defense which is carried out by skin, mucus, sweat, and tears.

The second line of defense is the inflammatory response reaction to tissue damage caused by the infection.

Strep throat is caused by a BACTERIA such as group A streptococcus. It can also be cased by other bacteria such as non group A bacterium. In my case it was an infection with a germ called Group A streptococcus bacteria, which is the most common.

My immune system attempted to fight off the strep bacteria pathogen by giving me a fever, to try and rid my body of it and slow it down. It also caused my sore throat pain and redness. My throat was very dry and it was difficult to swallow.

When pathogens get passed the 1st and 2nd line of defense, the immune system works hard using special cells, tissues, and organs that work together to kill the foreign invaders. The thymus, spleen, and bone marrow are called lymphoid organs and special infection fighting cells are stored throughout the body in lymph nodes. White blood cells travel through the circulatory system and surround the infected area. T-cells surround the infection and break down foreign material and B-cells produce antibodies that attach to the foreign organisms, preventing them from harming the body.

My immune system went to work recognizing the pathogen, as I mentioned earlier, I had gotten a fever and my white blood cell count was elevated. With that information, the Doctor took a throat culture to make sure it was strep throat. They had given me an antibiotic to help kill the bacteria. Antibiotics are compounds that kill bacteria without harming the cells of the human body.

Some antibody producing b cells remain in the body after the infection has cleared up and becomes part of the immune systems "memory" against future infections.

Hope my immune system is working properly to avoid getting strep again.