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What does a high white blood cell count indicate?

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Quick Answer

A high white blood cell count typically indicates a bacterial or viral infection; a disorder of the immune system; a reaction to medication; leukemia; allergic reaction; stress; or smoking, as stated by Mayo Clinic. Tuberculosis and rheumatoid arthritis are also common causes of an increase in white blood cells.

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Full Answer

White blood cells are disease-fighting cells. A high count is the body's natural reaction to combat illness. A count that exceeds 11,000 leukocytes in a micro liter of blood is considered high for adults, according to Mayo Clinic. Normal white blood cell levels for children varies according to age and weight.

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