Immunity refers to the ability of the body to defend itself against diseases, infections, or other antigens (Andrews, 2008). Immunity involves the non-specific and specific components. Non-specific components eliminate a wide range of harmful microbes regardless of the specificity of the antigens. Specific components of immunity act against each new infection by generating specific immunity for pathogens. Immunity system of the body produces antibodies that will act against pathogens or antigens (Alters, 2000). This discussion will consider the process by which the body protects itself from infections; the non-specific and specific immunity; and artificial immunity.
The body’s immune system comprises of lymphocytes, which are the B cells and T cells (Sherwood, 2012). B cells take the responsibility of producing antibodies while the T cells help to coordinate the entire immune response and destroy the infected cells. When the immune system detects foreign substances that have invaded the blood circulatory system, the B-lymphocytes begin producing antibodies that correspond to the foreign substances. The antibodies bind to antigens and mark the antigens that the other cells of the immune system should destroy (Sherwood, 2012). Such cells that destroy antigens include neutrophils and macrophages, which engulf and destroy the marked antigens. Acquired immunity act against each new infection by generating specific immunity for pathogens. Non-specific immunity eliminates a wide range of harmful microbes regardless of the specificity of the antigens (Alters, 2000).
Artificial immunity refers to the immunity that the body acquires due to deliberate exposure to antigens, as in immunization. Active immunity refers to the artificial immunity that the body develops due to exposure to attenuated antigens (Nelson, 2005). Passive immunity is the artificial immunity that the body acquires due to the transfer of antibodies from one person’s blood circulatory system to another person, for instance from mother to the newborn baby through breast feeding (Nelson, 2005). Some diseases, such as rheumatism result from a person’s own immune response. This happens when the immune system begins to attack the linings of joints, which causes inflammation, pain, and swelling. Therefore, the hyperactivity of the immune system causes rheumatism. Treatments for rheumatism include regular exercises, stress reduction, balanced diet, rest, and medication (Sherwood, 2012).