Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.
Inflammation is a word we are all familiar with, but do we know exactly what it is? It is localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and frequently painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection. Inflammation is part of innate immunity, i.e. you are born with it ― it is not a ‘learned’ reaction. It is the second line of defence to a ‘threat’, after barriers such as the skin and mucus. All living things have innate immunity but mammals and other vertebrates have developed a greatly advanced system that can attack specific threats and this is called the specific immune system.
One of the major signs that the immune system is active is infl ammation and this occurs as two types: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation starts rapidly, often within a few minutes of contact, and may occasionally quickly become severe if it is linked to an allergy. For example, a few people are allergic to bee stings which can result in rapid swelling. This swelling can lead to airways being closed especially if the sting is around the face area and can lead to death if not treated immediately.
The signs and symptoms of acute inflammation are only present for a few days or, at most, up to a few weeks. Typical examples we will all have experienced are scratches, nettle stings, aches and pains caused by overly vigorous exercise, or the effects of being hit by a hard object such as a stone or hockey ball.
There are five main signs of acute infl ammation. These occur mainly on the surface ― inflammation of inner organs is hidden from view.