Our immune systems are delicate and amazing things. When a virus or bacteria enters your body, your immune system only becomes mobilized after a series of complex and improbable molecular encounters. But once it's mobilized, it almost always wins. The very fact that you're still alive and reading this post proves that your immune system has conquered trillions upon trillions of hostile organisms in your lifetime, and will likely conquer a few trillion more.
There are infrequent times in our lives when our immune systems are weakened, however, and in these occasions they can easily become overwhelmed by invading hordes of microorganisms. In these cases, extra bodily functions (like fevers) kick into gear in order to protect the body. And, again, the fact that you're still reading this article proves that fevers have saved you several times over.
The strongest immune systems are those that have been trained to be the strongest. Every person on the planet has been shaped by the organisms they have defeated, and therefore no two people on earth have identical immune systems. In general, the more organisms your body can defeat, the stronger your immune system becomes (and the more easily recognizable those organisms are the next time they try to invade).
It is therefore often presumed that infants have the weakest immune systems of all, since they are too young to have built up immunity every microorganism they might encounter. (This is one rationale for infant vaccination, which attempts to give children passive immunity to substitute for the active immunity they'll have later in life after fighting off the disease-bearing bugs.)
In fact, children who are breastfed have immune systems nearly as strong as adults, since they are protected by their mother's immunities as passed through the breast milk. Yes, the mother also may pass along germs to the child in her breast milk, but the child also acquires the necessary antibodies to fight those germs and thereby becomes even stronger for it.
The point here is that our immune systems work incredibly well by doing what they were intended to do: encounter bad germs and kill them.
But sometimes doctors want to help out infants, worrying that their immune system won't be able to handle an influx of virulent germs. And sometimes those doctors are right to worry. In these cases, the doctors often prescribe antibiotics, theorizing that the chemicals in the drugs are designed to kill the germs. Unfortunately, a new study has found a strong link between antibiotics in infants and the development of asthma later on.
Asthma is, in its most basic sense, your immune system on hyperdrive. Your immune system identifies non-virulent items (like dust, pollen, or common germs) as virulent and attacks them with vigor. The normal preparations to fight off invaders grow out of control, and the inflammatory response begins to choke off airways in your lungs. Asthma is now the most common chronic condition among children, and has been increasing for the past 30 years.
It is very important to determine if there has been a human cause for this relatively recent rise in asthma cases, which makes this study very important. It is vital to know if reducing the incidence of asthma is among the reasons for cutting back on the overprescription of antibiotics.
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
All images used are under Creative Commons license.
Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, S.C., proudly located in Peoria, IL.