When you have an infection, are the White blood cells always high?

I was wondering when you have an infection in your body, are your white blood cells always high?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    It depends... not always. Sometimes some types of WBCs are increased in infection since they are what are actually going to eliminate the infection, but it depends on the type of infection, severity of infection and the host immune system. If an otherwise healthy person has a skin infection, strep throat or ever a urinary tract infection, the WBC may be slightly elevated or not elevated at all. A more frail patient, or one with a more serious condition like kidney infection, meningitis, pneumonia will have a higher WBC. An immunsuppressed patient may have a very low WBC from their disease or treatments that put them at a higher risk for infection, while some infections will actually decrease WBC and immunity altogether (eg, CMV).

  • 1 decade ago

    White blood cells are part of your immune system. Without getting into the nitty gritty, they are the body's soldiers that fight off invaders and things (viruses, bacteria, parasites, and anything else that doesn't come from you).

    So just like you expect to see the police at a bomb scare, you see white blood cells when there is an infection. NOT having an elevated white blood cell count when you have an infection means that there is something wrong with your immune system or that it doesn't realize there is and infection and is not fighting it.

    Source(s): Lots and lots of college biology
  • 1 decade ago

    In cases of bacterial infection, the white blood cells(WBC) do increase as you body's response to fighting the infection, but in some cases of viral infections, the WBC actually decreases.

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