You may be wondering why we're not sick all the time as a result. The reason? Our immune system fights them all off and prevents us from getting sick.
Then it sends out an immune response, where white blood cells converge on the source to prevent the virus or bacteria from spreading.
When the foreign invaders are contained, our immune system creates antibodies, which locks onto the source and destroys them.
Aren't you glad we have immune systems keeping us healthy and safe?
One of the best health innovations humans have had over the decades is the invention of vaccines.
You see, vaccines make use of weakened or dead viruses to trigger an immune response.
The immune system assumes we've contracted something serious when a vaccine enters the body.
It then does its job, sending out white blood cells to contain the weakened invaders and creates antibodies to finish the source of the disease.
These antibodies prevent similar infections from taking place by storing a "memory" of the specific virus in its cells.
So the next time you acquire a certain virus, say influenza, and you have received a prior flu vaccination, your immune system will already have the information needed to fight off the virus and the antibodies to destroy it quickly.
Granted, there's still a low chance that you'll get sick from a flu virus, but it will be a weaker form and you can rest easy that you won't experience the most dangerous effects.
Natural immunity is what happens when you get infected by a disease and live through it. Your immune system makes up antibodies that will be ready to stave it off in the future.
While natural immunisation sounds better, in instances the risk is greater than immunity provided by vaccinations. Case in point- some diseases are deadlier than others, and contagious ones may present serious complications.
Some are deadly enough that you can die from them.
Vaccination can protect you and your family from viruses, even the deadly ones.
Studies show that vaccines prevent 2.5 million fatalities per year.
It also protects the frail, the vulnerable and our future generation.
Aitor is a Registered Nurse (AHPRA registration NMW0001159845) with over 17 years experience in General Nursing, Emergency Nursing and Corporate Health. He loves Flu, works with Flu, studies Flu, writes about Flu and ironically, he’s had the Flu.
He is the Nurse Consultant at Corporate Care and a proud member of the Australian National Padel Team.
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