Effects of Infection on Red and White Blood Cells?  What effect does infection have on red and white blood cells?  

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That depends on the specific infection.  For instance, Sickle Cell Anemia distorts the normal circular shape of the red blood cells.  In general, however, every infection causes an increase in white blood cells whose job it is to fight off infections/intruders in the body.  Infections lead to full-blown disease which often attacks, mutates, or destroys healthy red blood cells as a way to continue living inside the host.  If you have a specific infection or disease in mind, search for results of that particular culprit on the blood cells of the host.  Good luck, and thanks for using enotes!

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Infection will cause your white blood cell count and platelet count to be elevated.  This is because your white blood cells are what your body produces to fight off the infection in the first place, and platelets are used for clotting if you have a cut.

atyourservice | Student

It depends on if you have a specific infection in mind. But usually the  number of white blood cells increase during an infection as they have to fight it (immune system) and red blood cells might decrease due to the increased production of white blood cells.

atyourservice | Student

The amount of white blood cells increase in the area of infection to fight off the infection. The red blood cells might decrease due to the increase of white blood cells.

nithya73 | Student

During an infection your body will recruit the white blood cells to the infected region or tissue. This process is known as inflammation. As result you may experience pain or fever or a sweeling may appear over the affected region.

isaxgrl | Student

A short Addendum: 1st-fyi on sickle cell--it is not an infection, rather it is a genetic disorder.

In general, infections cause an increase in the number of white cells in circulation. That is because white cells are the infection fighters and as such, get "mobilized" like the army in response to the "attack".   However, some infections (like Mononucleosis) can overwhelm the immune system for a short time and actually result in a very low white cell count. In most cases, however, the white cells increased are immature white cells released early to fight the infection. Those cells will continue to mature while in circulation. Depending on the type of infection (acute or chronic) certain types (neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, macrophages, or lymphocytes) will be present in lesser or greater number and reflected on the blood test results (CBC with Differential).

As for red cells, most infections do not affect them per se. However, their percentage in comparison to the other blood components may be decreased due to the increased number of white cells.

hope this helps some.

tesstyler84 | Student

If an individual is on an immuno-suppresant (chemo), sometimes the white blood cells don't increase therefore it is difficult to tell of infection.  If someone is anemic (low red cell count) this could also affect their white cells- but it is all difficult to tell  unless you know what infection is being dealt with.

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