• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Human Body's Non Specific Defence.

Extracts from this document...


The Human Body's Non Specific Defence The skin The skin, in terms of surface area covered, is the largest organ of the body. It is the organ we see first (and indeed one of the few organs we can actually see when looking at a naked human body) and is of great importance in the defence of the body and thus in the delivery of nursing care. Further, since it reflects physiological and pathological changes in other areas of the body, skin changes can be used to aid both nursing and medical diagnosis. Another name for the skin is the integument (Latin integrere to cover over, protect) -The Longman Dictionary of the English Language (1984) defines integument as 'skin, membrane or husk'. Another term sometimes used for the superficial skin is the cuticle; hence the use of the word cutaneous, meaning pertaining to the skin. Just as the husk on a fruit or berry protects it from drying up in drought or swelling up in rain, so does the skin covering protect the body from the undue entry or loss of water. The skin contains glands known as sebaceous glands. These are associated with the hair follicles and are most numerous on the scalp, the face, the middle of the back and around the genitalia. ...read more.


Saliva contains an enzyme called lysozyme, which is antibacterial and mucous which in turn contains the immunoglobulin IgA. Thus patients who have become dehydrated and hence have a reduced flow of saliva are at a higher risk of mouth infections. The resident bacteria of the mouth are generally harmless. Indeed some such as alpha haemolytic Streptococcus are of a positive benefit as they produce hydrogen peroxide (a bleaching agent) which helps to keep the mouth clean. Patients who are on a prolonged course of oral antibiotics run the risk of having their normal flora wiped out. This can result in the opportunistic infection of the mouth by other micro-organisms. A common organism that can become problematic is the unicellular fungus Candida albicans that causes thrush. The tonsils also assist in the protection of the buccal cavity. They are formed of lymphatic tissue and will be studied in further detail later in the course. The outer covering of the tonsils is extremely thin and is easily traumatised and as such the tonsils themselves become prone to infection especially during childhood. The stomach The hydrochloric acid present in the gastric juices produced by the stomach lining is of a sufficiently low pH value to kill most organisms entering the body with food, drink or by being swallowed with the sputum. ...read more.


The ear Ceruminous glands located in the outer ear canal are modified sweat glands that produce cerumen or ear wax. This provides a sticky barrier to foreign agents entering the ear canal. Inflammation This is seen as a local non-specific defensive response to tissue damage. Its function is to eliminate the cause of the damage, remove the consequent dead cells and restore the constancy of the internal environment and as such is closely associated with wound healing which again will be covered in further detail later in the course. Inflammation occurs immediately after a physical, chemical or microbiological injury. As such it may be due to a splinter, acid burn, heat burn or local bacterial infection of a hair follicle or pore of the skin. The last mentioned which results in a boil is often quoted as a classic example of inflammation exhibiting the five characteristics of the process namely: redness over the area swelling heat pain loss of function Blood clotting The blood clotting process begins immediately on damage to a blood vessel. If the damage is due to laceration of the skin an effective barrier against invasion of the wound known as a scab will occur within a relatively short period of time. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Living Things in their Environment section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Living Things in their Environment essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The effects of disinfectants and antibacterial soap on bacterial growth

    5 star(s)

    Standard amounts were pipetted to ensure that each plate would have basically the same amount of bacteria added to it. The plates were labeled and incubated at 32' C (because 37' C had melted the agar on two out of three of our previous plates).

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Taxonomy is the branch of biology that deals with the identification and naming of ...

    5 star(s)

    Examples of saprophytic fungi include bird's nest and toadstools. A fungus that obtains its nutrition from a living organism is considered to be parasitic. Examples of parasitic fungi include the potato blight. Fungi are also classified according to their fruiting body, which is called a sporangium.

  1. An investigation into the antibiotic effects of penicillin and streptomycin on the bacterium Escherichia ...

    Concentration of antibiotic: I have decided that I will make up penicillin G and streptomycin to equal concentrations of 50�g/ml. I will do this by obtaining the antibiotics with an equal or higher concentration to 50�g/ml. If I manage to obtain the antibiotic at the concentration required, I will not need to do anything.

  2. Fungal Pathogens in Humans.

    1996). This is not a completely reliable identification method, however, since some dermatophytes do not glow. Following a procedure called hair baiting, detailed by John Rippon from the Pritzler School of medicine, I attempted to isolate Trichophyton tonsurans from soil. According to Rippon (1974), placing human hair on soil from a nutrient-rich area (such as a flower bed)

  1. Investigating reflex behaviour in an invertebrate organism

    I have chosen the dual container as the variable I am investigating is just a case of light or dark, and the 'walkway' lets the woodlice move between the two containers. The woodlice we used were found in my partners back garden, under a piece of rotting driftwood.

  2. The comparison of bacterial content in a range of milks.

    The raw milks' level of bacteria will be no higher than that of the other milks. Variables and possible sources of inaccuracy 1. One of the main variables is the temperature at which the milk is stored. This temperature needs to remain a constant, as it will affect the growth of bacteria.

  1. Monitoring an Organism

    In each group there will be 12 students monitoring 3 different primates for their class. 12 students will be divided into 3 groups to monitor chimpanzee, gorilla and bonobos. (36 students= 3 groups, 1 group= 12 students, 12 students= 3 primates, 1 primate= 4 students monitoring.)

  2. Branded Bleach is more effective at killing E. coli than Non branded bleach - ...

    In the experiment cultures of E. coli are grown in Petri dishes lined with nutrient agar as a source of sustenance. Next the bacteria are exposed to paper discs which have been immersed in either branded or non-branded bleach. The active ingredients diffuse from their point of origin and take effect killing bacteria over a certain

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work