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Coughing up blood can be frightening. The blood may come from the lungs, stomach, or throat. You may cough up a few thin streaks of bright red blood. This probably is not a cause for concern. Coughing up large amounts of bright red blood or rust-coloured mucus from the lungs can be a symptom of a more serious condition.
Several conditions can make you cough up blood from the lungs. These include bronchitis and pneumonia, or more serious problems such as cancer or a blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolus).
Depending on what is causing your cough, it may go away after the illness is treated. Your doctor may tell you not to suppress the cough with cough medicine if it is better for you to cough up the blood and spit it out.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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