Inflammatory Response Stage
The inflammatory response starts when the immune cells or white blood cells (WBCs) detect a harmful stimulus (e.g., bacteria, viruses, toxins, etc.) or an injured cell or tissue.
This detection triggers the production of cytokines and other inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals widen the blood vessels to increase blood flow and make them more porous to allow more immune cells/WBCs and plasma fluid into the inflamed tissue.
The widening or dilation of the blood vessels (or vasodilation) and the surge of fluids cause redness, heat, swelling, and even pain.
Three things happen when the plasma fluid and WBCs work on the inflamed site:
1. The plasma fluid oozes into the site and delivers antimicrobial agents, platelets, and blood clotting agents to prevent the microbes from affecting other areas and stop the bleeding (if there are any).
2. Neutrophils, a type of WBC, come in and kill off bacteria. They also release chemicals called reactive oxygen species or ROS (a buildup of which causes oxidative stress) that can quickly eliminate pathogens.
3. Then, monocytes (another type of WBC) remove the dead pathogens, damaged cells, and dying neutrophils that fought bravely against the pathogens.
After the inflamed site is cleared, our immune cells stop the production of inflammatory cells and start the production of anti-inflammatory cells.
When you’re in the inflammatory response stage, the signs and symptoms of inflammation are pain, redness, swelling, heat, and loss of function or limited range of movements.
The treatment should reduce the pain and swelling and prevent chronic inflammation. Resting the affected area is also essential, but keep the rest of your body active.