Learn how the THE IMMUNE PLATOON works!
Your body's immune system is like having your very own super hero team. At BAM! we call them the Immune Platoon, a team of super-powered white blood cells dedicated to protecting your body from infections and other diseases that threaten your body's good health.
Your Immune Platoon has a series of secret headquarters located throughout your body, hidden inside tissues and organs like your bone marrow, thymus, tonsils and spleen.
Within these areas your Immune Platoon produces and trains other white blood cells to fight disease; move from one place to another inside your body; or simply wait quietly, ready to swing into action at the first sign of an enemy attack.
Around the clock, they constantly patrol your insides on the lookout for enemies who attack your good health. Known as antigens, these enemies are foreign bodies that enter your body and can make you sick. They could be viruses, bacteria and even pollen. These can cause infections or other diseases such as influenza and chickenpox.
When your Immune Platoon members spot an enemy in your body, their response depends upon their particular "super-power." Different members possess different powers and abilities.
Some of your Immune Platoon absorb their arch-enemy — which prevents the villain from doing further damage to your body — then alert the other heroes which enemy to be on the lookout for.
Others eliminate the antigens or release antibodies that knock out the antigens.
Some of your Immune Platoon heroes destroy the cells in your body that have been taken over by an antigen like a virus, so the virus can't spread and infect other cells.
Others tag antigens with special markers, making it easier for other heroes to track down and destroy them.
Once your Immune Platoon figures out how to defeat the antigens, they will remember what works against them. Should an enemy enter your body again, your Immune Platoon will move to attack the antigen before it has a chance to make you sick.
Sometimes your Immune Platoon can learn how to fight off antigens with the aid of a vaccine. Many vaccines contain antigens that have been weakened or rendered inactive by scientists and doctors.
Others are created from cells that resemble antigens — but who, because of the way they were created, can't cause any real harm. These vaccines are injected into your body to train your Immune Platoon how to fight the real villains.
And since the vaccine antigens possess no "super-powers" that can harm your body's good health, you won't get sick while your Immune Platoon is in training mode!
Once they figure out how to fight vaccines, they remember what works against them. If the active antigen enters the body, your Immune Platoon will move to attack it before it has a chance to make you sick.
Now check out the disease database to learn about your Immune Platoon's arch-enemies.
- Division of Population Health/School Health Branch
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
4770 Buford Highway, Northeast, Mailstop K-27
Atlanta, GA 30341
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- Contact CDC-INFO