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What Is A Virus?

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Viruses are microscopic parasites that multiply in living cells, but lack the capacity to thrive outside of a host body.  They reproduce by attaching themselves to cells and then they reprogram the cells to make new viruses.  Once a person is infected with a virus, their body becomes a reservoir for virus particles which can be released from bodily fluids – such as coughing, sneezing or by shedding skin or in some cases even from touching surfaces. Outside the body, some viruses only survive a few hours however, different viruses have been known to survive up-to seven days on hard surfaces.

Whenever any virus invades our bodies, our immune system starts to attack it. Most of the time, our immune system is able to completely get rid of the virus. How the immune system works is by recognising the invaders and then activating a chain of events involving many different types of white blood cells.  Each virus presents with different proteins or sugars on its surface (and therefore a different shape to any of the ones in the human body). The various white blood cells then work together to make exactly the right shape antibodies to fight the invaders – a bit like a “key” fitting a lock. With these “keys” the immune system also develops a “memory” of the virus. Over time our bodies develop a library of billions of white blood cells (keys), each of which can make just one shape of antibody, so the next time the same virus invades our body, the immune system has the “keys” to attack the virus even more effectively.

Vaccines work in the same way. They contain weakened or dead viruses, or even just a few proteins or sugars from the surface. This is enough to convince the immune system that a real invader has got in. So when that particular version (or shape) of the virus does actually invade our bodies, the immune systen can immediately send out the specific white blood cell (the keys) to attack it and you don’t get as ill. Afterwards, if your body ever meets a slight variation of the virus, your immune system has a set of “memorized keys” and will get rid of it – sometimes before you even know it’s there.

Unfortunately, as viruses evolve and different strains of the virus mutate, the memorized antibodies stored in our body (from direct exposure or from the version introduced in previous vaccines) do not have the “keys” to rapidly attack the new shape/strain.  Therefore, the immune system has to fight the invader all over again and you can become ill even if immunized.  Historically, research shows that immunizations for flu like viral infections are only between 25-60% effective.  So in addition to immunization, the best way of preparing yourself to dealing with such invasions is to get plenty of rest, keep hydrated, ensure good nutrition & exercise habits and maintain a well balanced nervous system.  At Bodyline Health we have multiple experts available to help guide you through the best way to stay safe and naturally maximized the efficiency of your immune system.  For further information please call Bodyline Health on 90174784.

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Bodyline Health Medical & Wellness Centre

17 Main Road, Lower Plenty,
(03) 9017 4784

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