Infections range from annoying to life-threatening. We are all familiar with bacterial infections such as a cut that festers and virus illness in the form of the seasonal flu. But bacteria (hundreds if not thousands of types) and viruses (hundreds if not thousands of types) can cause a great many other health problems that we might never have thought of. For example, it is now suspected that hardening of the arteries and schizophrenia may be caused by infectious agents.

We can also be attacked by other critters such as parasites large (like tapeworms) and small (e.g. pinworms), viroids (plant like pathogens), prions (mis-folded proteins causing for example, BSE in cattle), insects (e.g. ticks of Lyme’s fame, fleas, spiders, lice and mosquitos that carry West Nile virus), fungi (e.g. yeasts that may cause everything from athlete’s foot to depression) and mycoplasmas (a type of bacteria without cell walls that are resistant to most antibiotics.)

Without getting into a debate on immunizations, we must realize that there are only vaccines for a tiny fraction of these threats. Viruses come in so many varieties that the annual flu shots don’t always hit the right one. As of spring 2014, MERS is a big concern. There is no vaccine for this virus because it has never been seen before. It is quite scary that now bacteria are spreading that are unaffected by our best antibiotics.

Good grief! It sure is a good thing nature provided us with built in defenses.

Martie’s intro: It is our job to do whatever we can to keep our immune system up to meeting all of these challenges. Read here some ideas for doing that.

Copyright 2014 by Martie Whittekin, CCN