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Immune System    
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Memory

During an immune response, B and T cells create memory cells. These are clones of the specific B and T cells that remain in the body, holding information about each threat the body has been exposed to! This gives our immune system memory. The immune system is thus able to mount a quicker and more powerful response if it encounters the same threat again.

Our immune system's capacity for memory allows us to develop immunities. When our immune system knows what a germ looks like, it can stop any new infections before we get sick again. That means we are immune to that particular germ.

Our immune system's capacity for memory allows us also to gain immunity through vaccines (see below), but it can also get us in trouble with autoimmune disorders or with allergies.

Vaccines

Vaccines and allergies depend on our B cells and their antibodies, check them out >>

Of the thousands of bacteria and viruses in the world, of course there are some which your body has never seen before. That’s why we get vaccines. When you go to the doctor to get a vaccine, you are actually being injected with a form of whatever virus or bacteria you are trying to prevent!  Scientists today have engineered vaccines that are very safe.  Some vaccines don’t even use the whole virus or bacteria, but merely a part of it.  Your B cells pick up the vaccine and begin making antibodies and memory cells against it.  The next time your body encounters that virus or bacteria, your B cells will be ready to produce the right antibodies against it. 

Ever wonder why it takes days, sometimes weeks to get over a cold?  Remember that you produce millions of different B cells.  With so many different cells to produce, it’s impossible to make a lot of each.  Your body only has so much energy and space.  Whenever an infectious outsider is introduced, the right B cell has to be weeded out.  Not only that, that B cell has to divide and produce antibodies.  With the common cold, the body needs a few days to get its B cells in full operation.  But with more chronic diseases, like Tuberculosis or Hepatitis, the body benefits from the introduction of a vaccine.  That way it will already have many of the necessary B cells and antibodies needed to prevent infection.

Allergies

Allergies are the result of a wrong immune response! Allergies develop when the body encounters a substance like pollen from flowers that it wrongfully decides is harmful – it is an allergen. The immune response it starts involves B cells and their antibodies.

When a B cell binds this harmless particle by its specific antibody, it transforms into a plasma cell and a memory B cell. The plasma cell produces many antibodies and sets off an immune response that involves other cells, proteins and chemicals. You can see this in some of the symptoms people get: runny noses, sneezing, these are all your body’s natural ways of trying to get rid of something harmful!

Unfortunately the big strength of our immune system, its memory, works against us here. The memory B cells produced in this immune response remain in your body, ready to respond again, quicker and more forcefully next time the body comes across the same harmless substance!



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