To Protect Your Body, the Immune System Works Hard

Sometimes Too Hard

by Virginia Quach, age 12

The immune system plays an important role in your body. It is made of tissues, cells and organs, which work together to protect your body from illnesses.

White blood cells, known as leukocytes, are the immune system’s first line of defense. There are two types of germ-fighting white blood cells, phagocytes and lymphocytes. Phagocytes help protect the body by “eating” germs that try to invade it. Lymphocytes allow the body to recognize and remember germ invaders. This helps the immune system know how to fight the problem if the same invader returns.

The lymphatic system also fights germs. An example of this system at work is when you have swollen “glands” on the side of your neck. The glands are actually lymph nodes, which are filters that get rid of germs. Lymph nodes contain immune system cells and white blood cells. Whenever your lymph nodes are swollen, it means your immune system is working to fight germs.

Vaccines also help to prevent illness. Most vaccines expose your immune system to a harmless form of a virus. The memory cells of the immune system will file the virus away. If you are exposed to this virus again, your immune system knows to kick into high gear and block the virus from entering the body.

Sometimes a person’s immune system functions incorrectly. An allergy is an example. Allergies make the immune system overreact to things that aren’t harmful and make them dangerous for the body. Other problems like lupus and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis cause the immune system to fight good cells instead of germs that invade the body. Some immune system problems might develop because of an illness like HIV/AIDS or cancer. Most immune system problems aren’t preventable, but medicine and special care can make a person healthy again.

Without your immune system, your body wouldn’t be able to get better from a cold, or cure infections. The immune system is what protects, helps and restores your body.

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It really is amazing all the stuff that goes on inside your body. This is a great article, I hope you keep writing! – Ben , Madison (2014-05-31 12:32)
Very well written article! Learned a lot from it. – Sarah , Madison (2014-09-30 16:34)
Awesome job, Virginia! Before reading your article, I didn't know most of this information so it was nice to learn a few new things! – Robin , Madison, WI (2014-10-16 16:38)