Photo: Getty Images
Your immune system offers two systems of immunity. One of those types is called the innate immune system. The innate immune system is also known as innate immunity or the non-specific immune system.
Your innate immune system is your body’s first line of defense against diseases, viruses, bacteria, etc. According to the Arthritis Foundation, ʺThe innate immune system is nonspecific as to the type of organism it fights and is ready to be mobilized upon the first signs of infection.ʺ
The bad guys, known as antigens, can be proteins, molecules or non-living substances. For example, bacteria, viruses and even a splinter of wood can be categorized as an antigen. Your immune system’s job is to protect you against these bad guys.
Now, your body also produces good antigens known as HLA antigens. Your immune system can detect and react to the different types of antigens in your body.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), you are born with innate immunity which protects you against all antigens. The immune system has a very sophisticated system of defense and has several defensive barriers to protect your body.
Types of innate immune system barriers include:
• Anatomic barriers
• Humoral barriers
• Cellular barriers
Anatomic barriers of the innate immune system are:
• Enzymes in tears
• Enzymes in skin oils
• Cough reflex
• Mucus, which traps bacteria and small particles
• Stomach acid
The anatomic barriers are the first to approach and protect you from the evil antigens. For example, your skin can protect you from mosquito bites. After you are bitten by the nasty little bugger, your skin will develop an itchy red bump.
Another type of anatomic barrier is the enzymes in the tears of your eye. These enzymes can neutralize an antigen.
For example, every mother’s least favorite disease is pink eye. The enzymes in your tears neutralize the pink eye antigens and the effects of your immune system working include the crust formation and red itchiness. As one nurse once told me, ʺItchiness and pain are good.