What Is an Absolute Eosinophil Count?

An absolute eosinophil count is the number of white blood cells, explains MedlinePlus. These white blood cells, called eosinophils, increase when infections, diseases and medical conditions are present in the body. A normal absolute eosinophil count is less than 350 cells per microliter.

A high absolute eosinophil count is linked to infections from parasites, allergic diseases, leukemia, asthma, autoimmune diseases and eczema, notes MedlinePlus. Medicines, such as interferon, certain laxatives that contain psyllium, amphetamines and tranquilizers also increase eosinophils. A low eosinophil count is caused by an overproduction of steroids in the body and alcohol intoxication.

An absolute eosinophil count is determined by drawing blood from a vein on the back of the hand or inside of an elbow, states MedlinePlus. A stain is placed on the blood sample, which causes eosinophils to appear as orange-red specks. A technician counts how many orange spots per 100 cells materialize, and then he multiplies the number by the white blood cell count to determine the absolute eosinophil count.

There is not much risk in finding an absolute eosinophil count, according to MedlinePlus. Common side effects include hematoma, excessive bleeding, lightheadedness and fainting. Slight pain or throbbing may occur around the puncture area.