Red and white blood cells: What are they and how do they work?

Professor Hallux investigates!

We all know that red blood cells carry oxygen around the body whilst white blood cells trap harmful bacteria

If that seems really simplistic, that’s because it is… Blood cells do a lot more than just that – but do you know how?

Remember, every organ and system in the body has a number of jobs to do. They’re able to do these because of the way they’re constructed, and the way they work with other parts of the body.

Red blood cells carry oxygen by being small enough to get through the thin walls of the capillaries and by having a flat shape which makes them great for absorbing things.

Red blood cells also contain a chemical called haemoglobin which traps oxygen.

White blood cells combat diseases in the body. They can change shape, allowing them to wrap around disease microbes and engulf them. Once engulfed, microbes are digested by the white blood cells. This helps the immune system defend the body from further attack.

You can hear Hallux’s More Physiology Fix-Up weekdays from 6pm on Fun Kids!

Professor Hallux: The Human Body Podcast for Kids

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Professor Hallux’s More Physiology Fix-Up, with support from The Physiological Society!

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