• Question: Why do we get sick/ill???

    Asked by asiansupreme to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 4 Jul 2012.
    • Photo: Michael Cook

      Michael Cook answered on 4 Jul 2012:

      There are lots of different ways to get sick or ill, and they cover almost everything you can think of! Mostly it’s either because something in our body has stopped working, or something is in our body that shouldn’t be.

      In the first case, something that is part of our body’s normal activity doesn’t work properly and we start to get negative effects. Things like heart attacks, liver failure and so on are cases where our organs have a problem and stop doing their job!

      Sometimes it’s something from the outside coming into our bodies that shouldn’t be there. The sort of thing that Emma studies – bacteria that can make you sick by upsetting the way your body normally works – are a good example of this! Maybe Emma can fill you in a bit more.

    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 5 Jul 2012:

      I think Mike’s given you a great answer:

      Illness because our bodies stop working
      There are many things that can stop our body that are not infectious (so don’t come from other life forms infecting us). Sometimes something in our body goes wrong all by itself. Sometimes we might accidentally eat or be exposed to a toxin that can damage our body.

      Infectious illnesses
      Did you know that there are lots of different life forms that make us ill? They all come under the term ‘microbe’ and include types of bacteria, viruses and fungi (have you heard of all these things?)
      Some infectious agents (those bacteria etc. I was talking about) only make us slightly sick (like the virus that gives us the common cold) but some can be really dangerous and even kill us (like the rabies virus).

      All of them act in different ways so it’s a little tricky to explain why they make us ill, but in general, they stop one part of our body working properly. And when our body isn’t working properly that shows itself in us being ill.

      Does that answer your question?