The Common Cold

By: Destiny O'Neill

It was just a few weeks ago when...

I caught a cold which is a viral infection. The pathogen* had worked its way past my body's 1st line of defense- deadskin, saliva, tears, sweat, etc.- and 2nd line of defense- the inflammatory response. I began to show signs of my body fighting the virus off. Due to my immune resonse* I became fatigued- which is a 2nd line defense where the body pulls protein from the muscles- came down with a fever- also a 2nd line defense where the body raises its temperature in an attempt to kill the virus- and lastly, I had a runny nose, a cough, and I was constantly sneezing. This was a 1st line defense where mucus traps the virus and expels it through a cough or sneeze. The lymphocytes, phagocytes*, and antibodies* helped recognize the foreign matter, white blood cells helped destroy the virus, and the nose/mouth helped expel any foreign matter trapped in the mucus. My immune system recognized the pathogen due to the foreign antigens* marking the virus. In the future, my body will be at least partially protected from invasion by the same pathogen due to memory cells that will immediately recognize, attack, and kill the same pathogen.

Definitions*

Pathogen- organisms that cause disease

Antigen- protein markers on cells

Antibody- proteins made in response to antigens (When an antigen is detected, several types of cells work together to recognize and respond to it. These cells trigger the B lymphocytes to produce antibodies.)

Immune response- reaction of cells and fluids of the body to the presence of a substance that's not recognized as a part of the body

Phagocyte- a type of cell within the body capable of engulfing and absorbing bacteria and other small cells and particles