What Happens When You Get a Cut?

Ever wonder how your immune system protects you from bacteria and germs entering from a cut?

When you get a cut or scape, like the one pictured above, immediately bacteria and germs try to get into your body. This is when the immune system takes over. The immune system is made of various cells and proteins. The complement system is the first area that meets antigens, or foreign invaders, and takes action. It is made up of phagocytes and lymphocytes. Phagocytes are responsible for finding and eliminating bacteria and viruses. The three main types are granulocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells. Lymphocytes are white blood cells. The two main cells for the lymphatic system are T cells and B cells.

In brief, the first thing that happens when you get a cut is granulocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells, or phagocytes, devour the bacteria and viruses. Both the macrophages and dendritic cells activate one kind of T cells, the helper T cells, by presenting the antigen. Meanwhile, B cells find certain antigens that they are specialized for. The helper T cell then activates the B cells, which causes the B cell to divide into a plasma cell and a memory cell. The plasma cell is able to send out antibodies that attach to the foreign invader. Although the phagocytes are able to “eat” antigens without antibodies, they prefer those with antibodies. The antibodies cause the phagocytes to eliminate more at the time. The memory cell later remembers that antigen, so if it invades again, the immune system is able to attack it quicker.

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