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Battling Blood Cells
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Whenever a germ or infection enters the body, the white blood cells snap to attention and race
toward the scene of the crime. The white blood cells are continually on the lookout for signs of
disease. When a germ does appear, the white blood cells have a variety of ways by which they can
attack. Some will produce protective antibodies that will overpower the germ. Others will surround
and devour the bacteria.

The white blood cells have a rather short life cycle, living from a few days to a few weeks. A drop of
blood can contain anywhere from 7 000 to 25 000 white blood cells at a time. If an invading infection
fights back and persists, that number will significantly increase.

A consistently high number of white blood cells is a symptom of Leukemia, a cancer of the blood. A
Leukemia patient may have as many as 50 000 white blood cells in a single drop of blood.

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