19

Actually, in the case of most drugs, it has nothing to do with the immune system per se. Generally, drugs are either chemically modified (often in the liver) to make them inert, or excreted (either in the urine or the stool) thus removing them from the body. When the liver or the kidneys are not working properly, drugs fail to be excreted or digested, ...


15

Unvaccinated members of a population contribute to the susceptibility of the rest of the population to disease, especially vulnerable people who cannot be vaccinated. This fact is true whether or not infectious individuals are asymptomatic for a long time or a short time. Many (if not most) infectious diseases are contagious before symptoms clearly manifest ...


14

Certainly not. By definition, it cannot break down poisons (at least not quickly enough) to stop the body being harmed or killed. In addition, it can not break down (or "neutralize") many radioactive substances. A famous example of this was the murder of Alexander Litvinenko: On 1 November 2006, Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and was hospitalised. His ...


14

As far as I am aware, the immune system does not have a "boosted" state. There is a medical doctor, Mark Crislip, who wrote a post about this on Science-based medicine, and I'll cite here the most pertinent lines. Even though he takes a very one-sided position, I personally find his writing convincing, and the whole article is worth reading. It makes many ...


14

This is a pretty old old-wives tale, taking many forms: don't go out into the cold while it's raining, or without a hat, with wet hair, without a warm coat or scarf, without boots, etc., "or you'll catch your death of cold." The old wive's tale was immortalized by Jane Austin in her book, Pride and Prejudice, when the heroine's sister Jane falls ill after ...


9

This is a very interesting question. It's also highly speculative, and vague (what does "a doctor... gives them any medicine necessary to protect them from other diseases that might be lurking in their body" mean? Does it mean they treat the symptoms of AIDS (weight loss, diarrhea, etc?) If it does, then the difference between not treating HIV but ...


9

The human immune system Basically, the human (and that includes all ages) immune system has two parts: The innate immune system is a very old part (which doesn't mean it's bad or superfluous, on the contrary) that is responsible for a nonspecific immune response when the body encounters a pathogen. This is a very quick response and includes inflammatory ...


9

Won't this (having a flu vaccine every year) put them in an uncharted territory as far as effects on the immune systems are concerned within a couple of decades? No You are exposed to and develop a memory response to many, many more pathogens than vaccines. Your collective immune memory from natural exposure to a pathogen is much, much larger than from ...


8

The hygiene hypothesis For some reason I hold the opinion that the immune system needs to be kept busy so it wont get weak In scientific terms, this is known as the hygiene hypothesis. It was proposed in 1989 by Strachan and is about whether people who have been exposed to a lower amount of pathogens in their childhood are more likely to develop ...


8

There are three major reasons why we can't just keep someone in an aseptic environment and wait for their CD4 count to drop to zero and - presumably - for HIV to have consumed itself to extinction in the patient: Time. In the Pre-HAART era in a middle-income country like Brazil, the median survival time for someone with AIDS was 1.1 years, but that can be a ...


7

This is an old wives tale. Being cold in and off itself will not cause you to catch a cold because a cold is viral. 3 However, being cold for a long time can lower your immune response and if your system was already fighting a cold then symptoms may present that were not needed before. This is because your scored an own goal when you lowered your immune ...


7

There is some evidence that sugar does suppress the immune system. The study that everyone seems to point to was conducted in 1973, where they fed sugar in 100g doses to people and measured the effect on phagocytosis (where immune cells engulf invader bacteria to destroy it). The end result was that sugar intake did appear to suppress the ability of the ...


7

It does so by drying out your mucous membranes. Air moving over your face as you sleep is going to have more of a drying effect on your nose, sinuses, and throat than still air. This is especially true when the air is dry, such as in winter or when the air is from an air conditioning unit. The reason the membranes inside your upper respiratory tract are ...


7

To provide a brief answer, as I think a sufficient answer would be far beyond the scope of this site, the symptoms that are "generic" to the common colds are all caused by the body's response to a pathogen (it's why they are generic). Specific pathogens tend to cause additional symptoms on top of that, some of which seem to be directly related to viral ...


7

This is a great question, an area of active debate, and a personal interest of mine. I actually just did a presentation on this, so this answer will probably have more information in it than you need, but I'll add it for completeness. Fever as an Adaptive Response The first important thing to know about fever is that it is something your body initiates ...


7

Mayo Clinic on the example of tuberculosis: Stopping treatment too soon or skipping doses can allow the bacteria that are still alive to become resistant to those drugs, leading to tuberculosis that is much more dangerous and difficult to treat. So, the logic behind completing the course is to kill as much bacteria as possible to prevent the ...


7

It's hard to know exactly what another person is thinking, but Merkel is probably referencing herd immunity. Assuming that people who are infected and recover will be less susceptible to infection in the future (the extent to which is currently unknown), those people have effectively been naturally vaccinated, which can help slow down future spread.


6

I have found a couple of papers which debunk this myth. The links here go directly to free PDF copies and there are DOI links in the references in case the PDF links die. The most recent paper I can find at the moment is by Hilton, et al. (2006). The recent controversy surrounding the safety of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) has ...


6

This was answered very well by @anongoodnurse in Biology.SE question What are the effects of the common cold in an immunodeficient person? plus there was a study by Bowden (1997) which indicated that: rhinovirus was responsible for 25% of community-acquired VRIs [viral respiratory infections] among bone marrow transplant recipients. In one small study by ...


6

If I get infected once with the virus which causes a common cold, does that mean I will not get infected with the same strain of the virus ever in my lifetime? It depends on quirks of your immune system and the viral load you're exposed to, but in theory (based on vaccination and other studies), presence of the virus will trigger a suppressive response, ...


6

There is a study from Chinese scientists from Bejing on this question: Reinfection could not occur in SARS-CoV-2 infected rhesus macaques Combined with the follow-up virologic, radiological and pathological findings, the monkeys with re-exposure showed no recurrence of COVID-19, similarly to the infected monkey without rechallenge. Taken together, our ...


6

If you’re young and healthy with only mild symptoms, your doctor will likely advise you to isolate yourself at home and to limit contact with others in your household. You’ll likely be advised to rest, stay well hydrated, and to closely monitor your symptoms. This means that if you have mild symptoms, yes, you will eventually "cure" yourself, the same way ...


6

You're asking some completely different questions here from sources talking about completely different aspects of antibody-mediated immunity. The first statement, from WHO, is talking about people who have antibodies now and whether they will have immunity in the future. Antibodies are produced by particular immune system cells. Someone can recover from ...


6

The level at which herd immunity is achieved varies with the communicability of the disease. The standard rule of thumb is that the percentage of the population that has to be immune is pc = (1 - 1 / R0). The value of R0 for SARS-CoV-2 is not known precisely, but is thought to be between 1.4 and 3.9. This means that herd immunity would be achieved at ...


6

Rabies is almost 100% fatal so there is no chance to develop immunity. So, post-exposure vaccination is used if the person has not been vaccinated prior to exposure. Rabies is a vaccine-preventable, zoonotic, viral disease. Once clinical symptoms appear, rabies is virtually 100% fatal. In up to 99% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus ...


6

Varicella zoster - you can get infected and then develop shingles recurrences which are preventable using vaccination eg Shingrix https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/shingrix/index.html


5

I'm not aware of any work done in this area. A whole blood transfusion is not going replace circulating defective lymphocytes. On the other hand Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation has some promise in patients with deteriorating lung function. Autologous HSCT could “reset” the host immune system to a point in time when the antigenic triggers of ...


5

Steroids are used as treatment for acute attacks/flares in many diseases because they reduce inflammation. In multiple sclerosis, they are given to reduce inflammation of the nerves that occurs when the immune system attacks the nervous system. This inflammation may be one mechanism that causes the nerve damage in multiple sclerosis, although this seems to ...


5

How to boost immune system Sleep boosts immunity Sleep is very important for our health and lack of sleep can affect our whole immune system. That's because our body's biological clock is set for 24-hour rhythm and certain periods of light and darkness (a circadian rhythm), and when it's thrown off, so is the immune system. Image credits: A circadian ...


5

I've written on this subject a few times, but the most relevant question ended up being closed, and the other is on Bio.SE, so I will mostly focus on tailoring the information there to the specifics of this question. If you look at ether of my previous answers, you will note the first thing we need to establish is what is causing the common cold. From the ...


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