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The Link Between Vaccines And Allergies

2816 words - 12 pages

An allergy is an immune response to substances that are recognized as harmful
In most situations, genetic heredity plays a role in what allergy a person acquires. Children inherit their allergy from their parents. (Mills et al., 2007) On the contrary, some of individuals develop certain allergies in spite of their parents. One proposed theory that will be explored in this paper is whether or not the use of vaccines causes us to develop certain allergies. Before that theory can be proven as right or wrong, we must first get a more thorough understanding of the immune system.
The Immune System
The immune system, which is composed of cells, proteins, tissues, and organs, is the body’s innate defense against foreign particles that may show to be harmful or infectious to us. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks potentially dangerous organisms and substances that invade our systems. (Durani, Y., 2012) The immune system’s key players include leukocytes, the lymphoid organs, and the lymphatic vessels. Leukocytes are white blood cells that recognize and destroy the harmful invaders. Lymphoid organs (lymph nodes, bone marrow, thymus, and spleen) make and/or store the leukocytes, and lymphatic vessels are a network of tissues that allow for the leukocytes to circulate through blood or the various lymphoid organs. (Durani, Y., 2012)
Leukocytes are broken up into two different subunits: phagocytes and lymphocytes. Phagocytes destroy the dangerous organisms. Though the most common type of phagocyte is the neutrophil (which breaks down bacteria), many other cells are known to be phagocytes also.
Lymphocytes aid the body in remembering and recognizing prior offenders that may invade again. Lymphocytes are broken up into two sub groups which are B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. All lymphocytes are made in the bone marrow. From there, some either stay in the marrow to mature into B lymphocytes, or they travel to the thymus gland to develop into T lymphocytes.
How Immune Response Works
Upon entering the body, the antigen is identified by cells that alert the B lymphocytes to make antibodies; B lymphocytes memorize new antigens and automatically create antibodies for the next time that antigen is encountered. An antibody is any of a large number of proteins that are produced by specialized B cells after stimulation by an antigen.( Merriam- Webster dictionary) Once the antibodies attach to the antigen, assistance is needed from the T lymphocytes to destroy the antigen. T lymphocytes destroy the antigens tagged with antibodies by borrowing a hole into the antigen with perforin and then releasing cytotoxins into the cell to destroy the contents. Macrophages are white blood cells that digest the leftover waste product. (Durani, Y., 2012) With allergic reactions, as soon as an antigen is introduced into the body a certain type of antibody attaches to the antigen called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). There are many types of IgE...

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