Your immune system is paramount to your survival. Does that surprise you?
Without one, your body would be open to marauding viruses, bacteria, and every other type of germ that came looking to attack. Without the human immune system, we would all be adrift in an ocean of pathogens with no hope of survival.
It is obvious, then, that we want the healthiest possible immune system. Understanding how it works is probably the first step to achieve this life-saving goal.
You no doubt know about the need to eat healthily, get enough sleep, and stay away from germs. But read on to learn six fascinating facts you probably don’t know.
1. The Human Immune System Is Not a New Discovery
Around 2,000 years ago, the Chinese established the Silk Road, linking China with the West. The Gregorian calendar that we use today dates back over 2,000 years. And nearly 2,000 years ago, the Greeks realized that smallpox survivors were immune to the disease.
Back in the early 1900s, scientists discovered the existence of human immune system diseases. The cause of these is mainly unknown, but they occur when the afflicted person’s immune system appears to attack their own body.
2. The Immune System Harbors Good Bacteria
Germs outside the body are usually thought of as being dangerous and disease-spreading. They cause horror diseases such as meningitis, smallpox, and COVID-19.
Yet inside our intestines, something like a hundred trillion ‘good bacteria’ help us digest food and keep us healthy. These are an integral part of our working immune system.
When our immune system comes into contact with an aggressive virus, it gathers its forces and attacks it. If it successfully overcomes the foreigner, it remembers it for the future.
If the enemy returns, the immune system is ready for it. And that is the principle behind vaccines.
3. The First Vaccine Began With Dairymaids
In the early 1700s, people noticed that dairymaids seemed less susceptible to smallpox, and so they started the practice of variolation. This was a precursor to the later-developed smallpox vaccination.
The healthy person was deliberately infected via a tiny amount of material from an infected patient. They became ill, but usually survived, and were then found to be immune to the disease.
4. Running a Fever Is Good
When you have a high temperature, or if you develop an area of red, painful inflammation, you may feel rotten. But it actually shows that your immune system has gone to work.
A high temperature occurs when the immune system is attacking the body’s intruder. Inflammation causes damaged cells to release histamines and your body races to overcome them.
5. Cleanliness Is Not Always Good
Little children seem to know this instinctively! If they are never in contact with dirt and germs, their human body immune systems will never develop the necessary antibodies they need to avoid illness.
Cleaning and sanitizing are important, especially when faced with diseases such as the deadly Coronavirus. However, we should avoid becoming obsessive in every area of life.
6. Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine
The old saying that laughter is the best medicine actually has a lot of truth. When we have a good laugh, the immune system releases dopamine and endorphins that make us feel good.
Never mind the apple keeping the doctor away, twenty minutes of laughter may have the same effect. It will certainly work well for your immune system.
Learn More About Your Immune System
We hope you enjoyed reading about these six facts concerning the amazing human immune system, some of which may have been new to you. Just applying these in your life will make a difference to your general well-being.
However, there are many more things you can do to encourage your immune system in its task of protecting your body. Do check out our other articles on this site for further ideas.