Answered by: Dr Sashini Seeni
Hi! Good morning to all doctors. I have a question regarding the body’s immune system. I am aware that viruses such as influenza mutate, and we are exposed to these ‘new strains’ every year. So my questions are,
How is it that some years we get very sick, but other years we do not, despite being exposed to the new strains every year?
Specifically, for example, I might get a bad case of the flu while you experience no disease, and yet we are both being exposed to the exact same virus strain that year. How does this happen?
I also know that it depends on a person’s immune system… but I’d like to know a bit in depth explanation from a doctor’s point of view.
Thank you so much for your time!
Greetings! Thank you for your questions.
For your information, the immune system refers to a collection of cells, chemicals and processes that function to protect our respiratory passages, skin, intestinal tract and other areas from foreign antigens, such as viruses, microbes (bacteria, fungi, and parasites), cancer cells, and toxins. Beyond, the structural and chemical barriers which protect us from infection, the immune system can be viewed as having two ‘lines of defense’, innate immunity and adaptive immunity.
Immunology of human body vary as a consequence of heritable and non-heritable influences, however symbiotic and pathogenic microbes and other non-heritable influences explain most of this variation.
The following answers just general descriptions. For more information, you may also click on this link (DoctorOnCall) to speak with our doctors online. We assure you that our conversations are kept in confidentiality unless additional consultation needed with other medical parties. Thank you. Have a great day.