Flu Season is Here!

Hey, hello, hi there readers! My name is Nunzio and I’m one of Dr. Smarty’s top assistants. The good doctor asked me to step in today to remind his friends that it’s that time of year again, the time for sniffles and sore throats, sick days and the all-too familiar whine of “I-Can’t-Go-To-School.”

To most likely avoid this, you can bring yourself and your children to get the flu vaccine at any participating locations such as pharmacies and grocery stores. Just look for announcements in your area!

By receiving the flu vaccine, you are helping your body become immune to the influenza virus. But what does being “immune” really mean?

Allow me to explain…

To be immune to something means you are protected from it. For instance, in the fuzzy wool socks your grandma knit you last winter, your feet are immune to the cold. Just like these socks, your body has its own form of defense: your immune system! Your immune system protects your body from viruses and bacteria that you come into contact with every day.

Think of your immune system as a team with one task: to keep you from getting sick. Cells, tissues, and organs that are part of your immune system work together to combat sicknesses. The soldiers of your immune system are the white blood cells, which have two jobs:
1. To take out the germs in your body that want to make you sick
2. To remember those germs so, if you have any repeat visitors in your body, your white blood cells are prepared and ready to fight them

If you wanted to shrink down and travel into a human body to check out the immune system, your first stop would be to find where the white blood cells are born before they are released into the blood stream. You may want to head over to the spleen, an organ that filters blood and helps to fight off infections in the body. If the spleen doesn’t suit your fancy, you can always head over to the spongy jelly inside the bones called bone marrow.

Your next step on the journey through the body would be to check out the body’s lymph nodes. The lymph nodes also work to filter out the germs that are floating around in your blood stream, and release the vanguard of white blood cells to take out the enemy germs in your body!

Thanks to human evolution, our bodies have a master plan against germs, diseases, and viruses that we come into contact with every day. In addition, going to the doctor and getting your regular vaccines will help your body fight off some of the meaner germs that are out there. With a small needle prick from your doctor, your body gets a small, weak dose of a germ to practice fighting off so that you don’t get infected by those germs later.

Sure, we still get sick from time to time, but regular visits to your doctor, living a healthy lifestyle, and having a strong team of immune system cells, tissues, and organs will keep your sicknesses at bay.

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