Are you aware of what your immune system does? I know it’s mostly in the name, but I think it’s important to look further at what our immune system does for us. It does provide our body with immune defenses to things like diseases and illnesses. Mostly.

However, a crucial part of understanding things is not just knowing what they do, but also how they do it. Many people don’t have a clear idea of how exactly their immune systems are helping you stave off viruses, which is why there are so many articles on the subject online, with what to do, what not to do. It’s an important part of understanding your own reactions to illness and what your body needs to keep protecting itself.

One of the most common things that you’ll find your immune system doing to protect you is giving you a fever. Many associate fevers with being a bad thing, yet minor fevers can actually help you.

Your body will raise its temperature in order to kill off the virus in your body, which can’t survive well under higher temperatures.

I remember I was astonished when my boys started to have what the pediatrician called “normal” 3-day fever. We were told that up until 3 days of fever, there was no need for us to bring our kids to see the pediatrician, because it was normal and didn’t mean there was anything fundamentally wrong. Yes, my boys were having strong fevers (39°C and above). Yes these fevers lasted well 3 days. Yes the fever went down by itself after that timeframe. Why? Because their immune system was working. The stronger the viruses, the stronger the response.

I’ve also noticed a couple of times when my husband or I also had a strong fever for a day or 2, and were fine after that.

That being said, higher fevers can be quite dangerous still, so keep track of your temperature in case it gets too high; or too high too long.

Another response your body has to foreign bodies is the use of white blood cells. White blood cells are sort of the enforcers of your body, taking out any kinds of harmful microorganisms that it finds.

When you get sick, some white blood cells will attach themselves to the organisms to weaken them, while others will attack them directly to try to kill them off. These cells will then learn about the type of organisms they fought off, and that’s how you build up an immunity in the future.

You might find that one uncomfortable symptom of getting sick is that you might have certain parts of your body get inflamed. Inflammation is uncomfortable and annoying, and might be a sign of an infection, but it’s also a part of your body’s immune system.

When bacteria enters your body, it will travel through your blood vessels in order to spread. By inflaming portions of your body, you’re able to constrict the blood vessels in that area, making it more difficult for the infection to spread.

Additionally, the inflammation alerts your white blood cells that there is an infection, making the response much quicker to try to get rid of it. While many of your body’s reactions to illnesses might be annoying, uncomfortable, and gross, it can certainly benefit you in the long run. It’s important to keep your immune system well maintained so that it can continue to keep up these functions to prevent a serious illness.

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