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A short summary of what Influenza (more commonly referred to as 'fever' or 'temperature') actually is, and how our body deals with it.

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Introduction

Ever wondered how you fall ill with fever, or what it actually is? Have any clue how our body responds to the most common illness during wintertime, and why we get the symptoms we get? Here's a short summary of what Influenza (more commonly referred to as 'fever' or 'temperature') actually is, and how our body deals with it. Influenza is a virus that starts off just as a strand of DNA. A person who is infected with it can get rid off it by coughing or sneezing it out. When that happens, the virus has got around 2 minutes to live until the dry air kills it. It hangs around in the air and we can breathe it in through our nose or mouth. Our Ciliated Hair Cells that line our throat and nose trap some viruses. When a virus is trapped, it is either pushed back out again or dissolved by the mucous enzymes. So some viruses don't even get inside our body. But as viruses are ten thousand times smaller than bacteria, some viruses manage to slip through those cillia cells and get inside a throat cell. ...read more.

Middle

The only problem with them is that they also kill lots of healthy throat cells, making our throat go sore.(Sore Throat) Another type of white blood cell are Macrophages or Phagocytes. They also react immediately to the virus. They engulf or "gobble up" the virus cell and digest it using the enzymes they contain. They also have the ability to attract other white blood cells to where the infection has taken place. Macrophages can release something called Interleukins if necessary. Our body temperature (inside our body) is 37 degrees Celsius. The viruses replicate best at this temperature. So what the interleukins does is increase the body's temperature so it slows down the viruses replication. That makes us think that we are cold and we get a temperature. The Natural Killer Cells and Macrophages are two white blood cells that can respond immediately to a virus. However, there are also two other white blood cells that have to be kind of "activated" to fight the virus. The cell who's job is to activate them is called the Dendritic Cell. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the B-cells can't make those antibodies on their own. They need large plasma cells to act as a factory for producing the antibodies. The antibodies are then also released into the blood stream and they go to the site of infection. They work like this : Once the virus and the virus infected cells have been killed, most of the White Blood Cells die. Some stay alive though and act as Memory Cells, which make you immune to that particular virus because they'll remember exactly how to fight it and not let it break out. So why do we still get flu's then? Because the virus changes its antigens slightly so our Memory Cells don't recognise it as the virus they already fought. All the Macrophages don't die either. They stay alive to eat the debris produced by all the cells that have died. The debris that doesn't get eaten by the Macrophages are taken away by the cilia in our throat, then swallowed and digested. We also cough out the dead cells and debris. So all these symptoms we get : Sore Throat, Temperature, Glands Swelling, being cold and coughing are just signs that our body's immune system is reacting correctly to the virus. ...read more.

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