Why do people get sick?
Ask any doctor about the common cold or flu or strep throat virus and why people get sick and you may get a complex answer.
People, like all life-forms on Earth, are made up of cells. Cells are tiny biological life-forms. Think of it like a cluster of many individuals.
In the enviroment, there are germs. Germs are either bacteria or viruses (and in some cases, like mad-cow disease, proteins).
Viruses are like little factory workers. Viruses can enter a cell and cause it to produce more viruses. Once a virus fills the cell, much like a balloon that is about to pop, they exit and find new cells to infect.
If you have a cold, the virus infects the cells in your nose. Many different kinds of viruses affect different cells in your body. Hepatitis, for example, infects your liver cells. The virus that causes warts infects the cells in your skin.
Bacteria are also a kind of cell. However, bacteria do not usually enter cells. Instead, bacteria eat the matter that cells use or create.
When a bacteria eats, it excretes, or "poops" a substance that is harmful or toxic to the body. The human body will usually react by producing new cells and substances that kill off the bacteria or neutralize the toxins. The body will also react with symptoms like fever or lack of appetite.
To defend against these viral and bacterial invaders, your body produces antibodies. Antibodies are substances which attach to the proteins on the outsides of bacteria and viruses, alerting your immune system that it has been invaded. In addition, your body produces white blood cells to attack the invading organisms.
Many white blood cells are produced in the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are organs in your body that create these tiny germ-fighters. You may have even been sick and felt your lymph nodes in your neck swell up! That means that there is a lot of activity going on; your body is working hard to fight off an infection.
The feeling of being "sick" is really the human body fighting off a tiny, invisible invader: germs.
For most diseases, including the common cold, the best defense is to make sure your diet is balanced, make sure you get enough sleep each night, and make sure that you wash your hands after being in a public place.
Don't be ashamed if you get sick, it's a natural phenomenon. Every year, the average person gets a cold or the flu for a few days.