Protecting yourself from infectious disease requires conscious decisions about your health habits. Following general guidelines can help prevent the spread of disease among you and your loved ones.
Avoid Exposure - When ever possible, stay away from crowds. Shop online instead of in stores. Eat at home, not in restaraunts. If you have to be in a crowd . . . wear a mask. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Wash Up - Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after touching door knobs, handles and ATM machines etc.
Eat Right - Eat plenty of fresh, nutritious food, and drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. Avoid alcohol and sugar, as these suppress the immune system.
Exercise- Exercising your body stimulates natural killer (NK) cells. However, use moderation: too much exercise can weaken the immune system.
Help support your Immune System with supplements - Nutritional supplements such as those contained in Immune System Plus may help support your immune system.
A Dangerous world Requires A Strong Immune
During the past 19 flu seasons, the months of heaviest flu activity (peak months) have been distributed as follows: December 4 years, January 5 years, February 7 years and March 3 years. This past year, April had the heaviest flu activity. If you add April to this list, then we are faced with 150 days of exposure to some of the most infectious viral and bacterial pathogens known to man. Now there is lots of discussion about a potential bird flu pandemic. No one knows if this will happen or not, but certainly it is a good idea to be prepared. If it does happen, vaccines will surely be scarce, going first to those who meet certain criteria.
Catching the flu during this or any flu season is not your only concern . . . Why ? Because most flu-like illnesses (about 80%) are in fact caused by non-flu viruses. Additionally, there are many nasty bacterial and fungal pathogens floating around too . . . not to mention potential bio-terrorism attacks. The world we are living in today is truly dangerous.
A Healthy Immune System is Nature's best Defense
According to WebMD: "Controlling your immune system by strengthening and building up it
s resistance to viral invasion is the most important thing you can do"
William Hennen, PhD had this to say: "Simply put, we are now and will continue to be more exposed to challanges to our
health. However, nature has already provided the immune system as our defense to microbes found in our environment."
Richard Bennett, PhD added: "The bird flu epidemic is only one of a series of new emerging diseases. Our best and
personal strategy is to do all in our power to ensure and support our unique abilities of disease resistance and
Immune System Plus was formulated to support a healthy immune system. There is no
other product "out there" which contains the unique combination of supplements for promoting a healthy immune
response. Don't wait another day to start giving your body what it needs to defend itself.
The Immune System and How It Works
Our immune system is composed of highly specialized cells, proteins, tissues and organs located through out the body. It includes the spleen, the thymus gland, the tonsils, the lymph nodes & ducts, the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), the bone marrow and the white bloods cells. It is through the networking of these components that our immune system fights off viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites and other foreign invaders keeping us healthy
White Blood Cells
The white blood cells (also known as leukocytes) seek out and destroy the organisms or substances that cause disease.
Leukocytes are produced or stored in many locations throughout the body, including the thymus, spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes.
The leukocytes circulate through the body between the organs and nodes by means of the lymphatic vessels. Leukocytes can also circulate through the blood vessels. In this way, the immune system works in a coordinated manner to monitor the body for germs or substances that might cause problems.
There are two basic types of leukocytes: Phagocytes and Lymphocytes:
Phagocytes are white blood cells that chew up invading organisms. A number of different cells are considered phagocytes. The most common type is the neutrophil, which primarily fights bacteria. If doctors are worried about a bacterial infection, they might order a blood test to see if a patient has an increased number of neutrophils triggered by the infection. Other types of phagocytes such as macrophages, basophils, and eosinophils each have their own jobs to make sure that the body responds appropriately to a specific type of invader.
Lymphocytes are white blood cells that allow the body to remember and recognize previous invaders and help the body destroy them.
There are two kinds of lymphocytes: the B lymphocytes and the T lymphocytes.
Lymphocytes start out in the bone marrow and either stay there and mature into B cells, or they leave for the thymus gland, where they mature into T cells. B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes have separate jobs to do: B lymphocytes are like the body's military intelligence system, seeking out their targets and sending defenses to lock onto them. T cells are like the soldiers, destroying the invaders that the intelligence system has identified.
Here's how it works.
Antigens are foreign substances that invade the body. When an antigen is detected, several types of cells work together to recognize and respond to it. These cells trigger the B lymphocytes to produce antibodies, specialized proteins that lock onto specific antigens. Antibodies and antigens fit together like a key and a lock.
Once the B lymphocytes have produced antibodies, these antibodies continue to exist in a person's body, so that if the same antigen is presented to the immune system again, the antibodies are already there to do their job. That's why if someone gets sick with a certain disease, like chickenpox, that person typically doesn't get sick from it again. This is also why we use immunizations to prevent getting certain diseases. The immunization introduces the body to the antigen in a way that doesn't make a person sick, but it does allow the body to produce antibodies that will then protect that person from future attack by the germ or substance that produces that particular disease.
Although antibodies can recognize an antigen and lock onto it, they are not capable of destroying it without help. That is the job of the T cells. The T cells are part of the system that destroys antigens that have been tagged by antibodies or cells that have been infected or somehow changed. (There are actually T cells that are called "killer cells.") T cells are also involved in helping signal other cells (like phagocytes) to do their jobs.
Antibodies can also neutralize toxins (poisonous or damaging substances) produced by different organisms. Lastly, antibodies can activate a group of proteins called complement that are also part of the immune system. Complement assists in killing bacteria, viruses, or infected cells.
All of these specialized cells and parts of the immune system offer the body protection against disease. This protection is called immunity.
Humans have three types of immunity:
Everyone is born with innate (or natural) immunity, a type of general protection that humans have. Many of the germs that affect other species don't harm us. For example, the viruses that cause leukemia in cats or distemper in dogs don't affect humans. Innate immunity works both ways because some viruses that make humans ill --- such as the virus that causes HIV/AIDS --- don't make cats or dogs sick either.
Innate immunity also includes the external barriers of the body, like the skin and mucous membranes (like those that line the nose, throat, and gastrointestinal tract), which are our first line of defense in preventing diseases from entering the body. If this outer defensive wall is broken (like if you get a cut), the skin attempts to heal the break quickly and special immune cells on the skin attack invading germs.
We also have a second kind of protection called adaptive (or active) immunity. This type of immunity develops throughout our lives. Adaptive immunity involves the lymphocytes (as in the process described above) and develops as children and adults are exposed to diseases or immunized against diseases through vaccination.
There are two types of addaptive Immunity:
Humoral Immunity- mediated by the secretion of immunoglobins (antibodies) by B cells in response to bacteria and viruses. It involves a variety of substances found in the humors, or body fluids. These substances
interfere with the growth of pathogens and clump them together so they can be eliminated from the body.
Cellular Immunity- Cell-mediated immunity is an immune response that does not involve antibodies but rather involves the activation of macrophages, natural killer cells (NK), antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, and the release of various cytokines in response to an antigen.
Passive immunity is "borrowed" from another source and it lasts for a short time. For example, antibodies in a mother's breast milk provide an infant with temporary immunity to diseases that the mother has been exposed to. This can help protect the infant against infection during the early years of childhood.
Everyone's immune system is different. Some people never seem to get infections, whereas others seem to be sick all the time. As people get older, they usually become immune to more germs as the immune system comes into contact with more and more of them. That's why adults and teens tend to get fewer colds than kids --- their bodies have learned to recognize and immediately attack many of the viruses that cause colds.
Vaccines and Immunization
The process of inducing an immune response is called immunization. It may be either natural through infection of a pathogen, or artificial, though the use of a serum or vaccine. The heightened resistance acquired when the body responds to infection is called active immunity. Passive immunity results when the antibodies from an actively immunized individual are transferred to a second, nonimmune subject. Active immunization, whether natural or artificial, is longer-lasting than is passive immunization because it takes advantage of immunologic memory.
Scientists can now produce antibody-secreting cells in the laboratory by a method known as hybridoma technique. Hybridomas are hybrid cells made by fusing a cancerous, or rapidly reproducing, plasma cell and a normal plasma cell obtained from an animal immunized with a particular antigen. The hybridoma cell can produce large amounts of identical antibodies, called monoclonal, or hybridoma, antibodies, which have widespread in medicine and biology.
Disorders of the Immune System
Disorders of the immune system can be broken down into four main categories:
immunodeficiency disorders (primary or acquired)
autoimmune disorders (in which the body's own immune system attacks its own tissue as foreign matter)
allergic disorders (in which the immune system overreacts in response to an antigen)
cancers of the immune system
Immunodeficiencies occur when a part of the immune system is not present or is not working properly. Sometimes a person is born with an immunodeficiency --- these are called primary immunodeficiencies. (Although primary immunodeficiencies are conditions that a person is born with, symptoms of the disorder sometimes may not show up until later in life.) Immunodeficiencies can also be acquired through infection or produced by drugs. These are sometimes called secondary immunodeficiencies.
Immunodeficiencies can affect B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, or phagocytes. Some examples of primary immunodeficiencies that can affect kids and teens are:
IgA deficiency is the most common immunodeficiency disorder. IgA is an immunoglobulin that is found primarily in the saliva and other body fluids that help guard the entrances to the body. IgA deficiency is a disorder in which the body doesn't produce enough of the antibody IgA. People with IgA deficiency tend to have allergies or get more colds and other respiratory infections, but the condition is usually not severe.
Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is also known as the "bubble boy disease" after a Texas boy with SCID who lived in a germ-free plastic bubble. SCID is a serious immune system disorder that occurs because of a lack of both B and T lymphocytes, which makes it almost impossible to fight infections.
DiGeorge syndrome (thymic dysplasia), a birth defect in which children are born without a thymus gland, is an example of a primary T-lymphocyte disease. The thymus gland is where T lymphocytes normally mature.
Chediak-Higashi syndrome and chronic granulomatous disease both involve the inability of the neutrophils to function normally as phagocytes.
Acquired immunodeficiencies usually develop after a person has a disease, although they can also be the result of malnutrition, burns, or other medical problems. Certain medicines also can cause problems with the functioning of the immune system.
Secondary immunodeficiencies include:
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection/AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a disease that slowly and steadily destroys the immune system. It is caused by HIV, a virus which wipes out certain types of lymphocytes called T-helper cells. Without T-helper cells, the immune system is unable to defend the body against normally harmless organisms, which can cause life-threatening infections in people who have AIDS. Newborns can get HIV infection from their mothers while in the uterus, during the birth process, or during breastfeeding. People can get HIV infection by having unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person or from sharing contaminated needles for drugs, steroids, or tattoos.
Immunodeficiencies caused by medications. Some medicines suppress the immune system. One of the drawbacks of chemotherapy treatment for cancer, for example, is that it not only attacks cancer cells, but other fast-growing, healthy cells, including those found in the bone marrow and other parts of the immune system. In addition, people with autoimmune disorders or who have had organ transplants may need to take immunosuppressant medications. These medicines can also reduce the immune system's ability to fight infections and can cause secondary immunodeficiency.
In autoimmune disorders, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's healthy organs and tissues as though they were foreign invaders.
Autoimmune diseases include:
Lupus is a chronic disease marked by muscle and joint pain and inflammation. The abnormal immune response may also involve attacks on the kidneys and other organs.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the body's immune system acts as though certain body parts such as the joints of the knee, hand, and foot are foreign tissue and attacks them.
Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disease that can lead to inflammation and damage of the skin, joints, and internal organs.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a disease that involves inflammation of the spine and joints, causing stiffness and pain.
Juvenile dermatomyositis is a disorder marked by inflammation and damage of the skin and muscles.
Allergic disorders occur when the immune system overreacts to exposure to antigens in the environment. The substances that provoke such attacks are called allergens. The immune response can cause symptoms such as swelling, watery eyes, and sneezing, and even a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Taking medications called antihistamines can relieve most symptoms.
Allergic disorders include:
Asthma, a respiratory disorder that can cause breathing problems, frequently involves an allergic response by the lungs. If the lungs are oversensitive to certain allergens (like pollen, molds, animal dander, or dust mites), it can trigger breathing tubes in the lungs to become narrowed, leading to reduced airflow and making it hard for a person to breathe.
Eczema is an itchy rash also known as atopic dermatitis. Although atopic dermatitis is not necessarily caused by an allergic reaction, it more often occurs in kids and teens who have allergies, hay fever, or asthma or who have a family history of these conditions.
Allergies of several types can occur in kids and teens. Environmental allergies (to dust mites, for example), seasonal allergies (such as hay fever), drug allergies (reactions to specific medications or drugs), food allergies (such as to nuts), and allergies to toxins (bee stings, for example) are the common conditions people usually refer to as allergies.
Anaphylactic shock - Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that occurs rapidly and causes a life-threatening response involving the whole body. This reaction can lead to difficulty breathing and shock ultimately leading to death. For an anaphylactic reaction to occur, you must have been exposed in the past to the substance that causes the reaction, called the antigen. This is called "sensitization."
A bee sting, for example, may not cause an allergic reaction the first time.
Another bee sting may produce a sudden, severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.
These reactions usually occur within seconds to minutes of exposure. Occasionally, they are delayed. You may develop sensitivity and anaphylaxis to a substance that you have been exposed to many times in the past without a reaction, and often people don't recall the previous exposure.
Cancers of the Immune System
Cancer occurs when cells grow out of control. This can also happen with the cells of the immune system. Lymphoma involves the lymphoid tissues and is one of the more common childhood cancers. Leukemia, which involves abnormal overgrowth of leukocytes, is the most common childhood cancer. With current medications most cases of both types of cancer in kids and teens are curable.
Although immune system disorders usually can't be prevented, you can help your child's immune system stay stronger by staying informed about your child's condition and working closely with your doctor.
Eat right, Exercise & Supplement with Immune System Plus
Researchers have demonstrated that a healthy diet and exercise are very important factors in maintaining a healthy immune system. Additionally, studies have suggested that proper supplementation may not only help support a healthy immune system, but may also help support the effectiveness of vaccines . . . so help yourself and your family by taking the most complete immune system
support available anywhere.
Don't let a weak immune system bring you down . . .
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