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We are experiencing high call volumes in response to expanded COVID vaccination scheduling. Vaccine supplies in Idaho are limited. Please do not call St. Luke’s clinics directly regarding COVID-19 vaccination. Appointments are made through myChart as vaccine is available; we are not able to accommodate walk-ins. Unless you need to call for an emergency, you are encouraged to use myChart for questions and appointments at this time. Find additional information here.

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Red blood cell (erythrocyte)

Red blood cell (erythrocyte)

Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, travel through circulating blood carrying oxygen to body tissues and organs while removing waste. These blood cells make up the largest part of the blood system.

As the red blood cells in blood travel through the lungs, oxygen molecules from the lungs attach to the hemoglobin, a protein in the blood cells that contains iron. The oxygen is then released to tissues and organs, and the hemoglobin bonds with carbon dioxide and other waste gases. These waste products are transported away and removed as blood continues to circulate.

Millions of red blood cells are contained in a single drop of blood. Red blood cells are constantly being produced in the bone marrow to replenish those that gradually wear out and die. The average life of a red blood cell is about 120 days.

A significant decrease in the number of red blood cells causes anemia and shortness of breath.

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