You probably already know that your body’s immune system is a complex network of cells and organs. But did you know that there are different types of immunity? Learn more about the two main types of immunity.
This kind of immunity is produced by your body’s own immune system. Active immunity is usually permanent unless you have immunodeficiency disorder.
Active immunity happens when your body is first exposed to a virus. Your immune system is stimulated to produce antibodies and cellular immunity. Once you have recovered, you will usually be immune to that same disease for the rest of your life thanks to your body’s immunologic memory. Certain cells in your body – called memory B-cells – will continue to circulate in your blood stream after you are better. If you’re ever exposed to that same antigen again, those clever memory cells will respond quickly to give you the protection you need.
There’s another way we can stimulate active immunity: vaccination. Vaccines work in a similar way to a natural infection but on a smaller and more controllable scale. But they still produce that same immunologic memory.
There is another type of immunity, called passive immunity. This is a form of immune protection from a product which introduces antibodies into your body (usually by injection). Passive immunity usually wears off over time.
The most common form is the passive immunity we receive in the womb. All babies receive passive immunity from their mother’s body during the last few months of pregnancy, with antibodies sent via the placenta. These antibodies have an important role protecting the baby from certain diseases for the first year of their life.
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