Your body's immune system fights off foreign invaders – bacteria, viruses and fungi – that cause infection.
Even if you do get sick, a healthy immune system helps you recover faster. The immune system includes these interconnected parts:
- Innate immune system. This is the part you're born with, which immediately responds to invaders using white blood cells.
- Adaptive immune system. Also called the acquired immune system, it develops antibodies after a first exposure from a disease-causing invader. Antibodies can then recognize and defend against future exposures.
- Bone marrow. This spongy tissue within bones contains stem cells, some of which mature into infection-fighting white blood cells.
- Lymphatic system. Lymph fluid, vessels and lymph nodes help clear away infections.
- Spleen. This abdominal organ can detect and produce cells to defend against unwanted invaders.
- Skin. Your skin acts as an all-over, first-line barrier against germs and other invaders. In addition, dendritic cells help trigger the body's immune response to viruses, bacteria and fungi.
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