How Can You Tell If You Have Haemoptysis
It can be hard to identify where the bleeding is coming from. If it is haemoptysis, it is likely that:
- the sputum is frothy, or looks liquid or clotted
- the blood is bright red or pink
- you also have lung disease
- you do not have nausea or vomiting
If the blood is coming from the gut, you are also likely to feel nauseous or be vomiting. The sputum will look like it contains coffee grounds, and the blood will be brown to black or mixed with food particles.
Depending on the cause of the haemoptysis, you might also have:
Sometimes, doctors cannot find the cause.
When Should I See My Doctor
Even if you cough up a small amount of blood, see a doctor promptly.
Common Causes Of Coughing Up Blood
The information below can give you a better idea of what may be the reason for coughing up of blood.
Don’t use it to diagnose yourself – always leave that to a doctor.
The most common reason for coughing up blood is a chest infection.
Where a specific cause is found, the most common causes include:
- pneumonia – a swelling of the tissue in one or both of your lungs usually caused by an infection with a germ
- bronchitis – an infection of the main airways of the lungs , causing them to become irritated and inflamed
- tuberculosis a severe lung infection associated with fever and sweating which can be treated with antibiotics
Sometimes a severe nosebleed or bleeding from the mouth or throat can cause blood to come out in your saliva when you cough.
Read Also: Best Pneumonia Vaccine For Cattle
What Might Be Causing It
It’s important for a doctor to determine the site of the bleeding, then determine the cause. Possible causes of coughing up blood include:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation
- Cystic fibrosis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Varices as a result of liver failure
Regardless of the cause, the fallout of coughing up blood can be deadly. If the airway gets obstructed by too much blood, a person can drown in their own fluids, Dr. Doss says. You have to secure the airway very quickly by putting an endotracheal tube in the throat to make sure the throat stays open, the airway stays open and the patient can keep breathing, he says.
No matter the underlying cause, Dr. Doss says, bleeding from the mouth is not something to ever ignore. If you begin to cough up blood, call your doctor right way and he or she can advise you on next stepsmaking an appointment with your doctor or going straight to an emergency department.
Causes Of Coughing Up Blood
Although hemoptysis can be frightening, most causes turn out not to be serious. Blood-streaked sputum is common in many minor respiratory illnesses, such as upper respiratory infections and viral bronchitis. Sometimes the cause is blood from the nose that has traveled down the throat and then is coughed up. Such blood is not considered hemoptysis.
Also Check: How Can You Tell When You Have Pneumonia
What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia
- Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
- If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
- Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
- Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
- Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.
If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.
Where Does It Come From
Blood in the sputum usually comes from the lungs, but it can also come from the stomach or digestive tract.
A range of factors can lead to blood in the sputum. Also, the blood may originate from different parts of the body.
The blood usually comes from the lungs, but less frequently it can come from the stomach or digestive tract. If the blood comes from the digestive tract, the medical term is hematemesis.
- From the lungs . If the blood is bright red, frothy, and sometimes mixed with mucus, it probably comes from the lungs and can result from persistent coughing or a lung infection.
- From the digestive tract . If the blood is dark and comes with traces of food, it probably originated in the stomach or elsewhere in the digestive tract. This may be a sign of a more serious condition.
Don’t Miss: How To Know If I Have Pneumonia
What Is Coughing Up Blood
Coughing up blood refers to coughing or spitting up of blood or bloody mucus from your respiratory tract . It’s a common condition that can have many causes. Some of these conditions can be very serious.
Coughing up blood isn’t the same as vomiting blood. Blood that’s coughed up often looks bubbly and is mixed with mucus. It can be red or rust colored and is usually in small amounts. Vomiting blood refers to large quantities of blood being expelled from your mouth.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia in children vary from child to child and also depend on your childs age, cause of the infection, and severity of their illness.
Usual symptoms include:
- Cry more than usual. Are restless or more fussy.
Adolescents have the same symptoms as adults, including:
- Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath.
- Chest pain.
Newborns are at greater risk of pneumonia caused by bacteria present in the birth canal. In young children, viruses are the main cause of pneumonia.
Pneumonia caused by bacteria tends to happen suddenly, starting with fever and fast breathing. Symptoms appear more slowly and tend to be less severe when pneumonia is caused by viruses.
Don’t Miss: Does Pneumonia Vaccine Make You Sick
How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Sometimes pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so variable, and are often very similar to those seen in a cold or influenza. To diagnose pneumonia, and to try to identify the germ that is causing the illness, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some tests.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your signs and symptoms, and how and when they began. To help figure out if your infection is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, you may be asked some questions about possible exposures, such as:
- Any recent travel
- Exposure to other sick people at home, work or school
- Whether you have recently had another illness
Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. If you have pneumonia, your lungs may make crackling, bubbling, and rumbling sounds when you inhale.
If your doctor suspects you may have pneumonia, they will probably recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis and learn more about your infection. These may include:
- Blood tests to confirm the infection and to try to identify the germ that is causing your illness.
- Chest X-ray to look for the location and extent of inflammation in your lungs.
- Pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
- Sputum test on a sample of mucus taken after a deep cough, to look for the source of the infection.
Types Of Coughing Up Blood:
- Massive or life-threatening hemoptysis: Different experts have different guidelines for what this type involves. They range from 100 milliliters of blood to more than 600 ml, or about half a liter.
- Non-massive or non-life-threatening hemoptysis: This is also known as moderate or submassive hemoptysis. You can cough up 20-200 ml of blood.
- Little or mild hemoptysis: You cough less than 20 ml, less than a tablespoon.
Read Also: Home Remedies To Treat Pneumonia
Inflammation And Abnormal Tissue Deposits
There are a number of conditions that can cause inflammation or produce abnormal tissue deposits in various parts of the body. Sometimes these conditions affect lung tissue or airways. Inflamed or abnormal tissue in the airways or lungs may bleed from time to time and cause haemoptysis. Conditions that can cause this include Goodpasture’s syndrome, pulmonary haemosiderosis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, lupus pneumonitis, pulmonary endometriosis, and broncholithiasis. Note: these conditions are very rare and you would normally have other symptoms in addition to the haemoptysis.
At Home Treatments For Coughing Up Blood
Coughing up blood should only be treated at home if there is very little and it does not last for a long time. In most cases, you will want to see a physician for a diagnosis and treatment. Some medicines or remedies that stop coughing may be recommended. A cough suppressant may help the heavy coughing and will reduce the amount of blood that is coughed up. However, in some cases, these suppressants may lead to a blocked airway. If you believe you are at risk for this, consult your physician. If you decide to start treatment at home, then you will want to keep a detailed diary of how long you cough up blood, how often it happens, and how much blood is in it.
It is essential to call your physician if you experience any symptoms that seem extreme or if symptoms last too long. There is likely an underlying issue that your physician will need to diagnose and treat. Be ready to answer a series of questions from your physician, such as any other symptoms that may be occurring, how long has this been happening, does it get worse at night, how much blood you are coughing up, etc. This is why it is so important to keep a journal log of what is happening.
Read Also: Can Vaping Give You Pneumonia
Tests That May Be Needed
You may be asked for a sample of your sputum so it can be checked for infection. Other tests, such as blood tests, may also be needed.
Your GP may decide to refer you to a specialist at your local hospital. Tests that may be carried out include a:
- chest X-ray
- more detailed scan, such as a computerised tomography scan
In some cases, further tests may be required to find out where the blood is coming from. For example, you may have a test called a bronchoscopy. This is where the main air passages of your lungs are examined using a tube with a camera at one end.
How Is Pneumonia Treated
How pneumonia is treated depends on the germs that cause it.
- Bacterial pneumonia: Bacterial pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics. The specific antibiotic choice depends on such factors as your general health, other health conditions you may have, the type of medications you are currently taking , your recent use of antibiotics, any evidence of antibiotic resistance in the local community and your age. Medicines to relieve pain and lower fever may also be helpful. Ask your doctor if you should take a cough suppressant. Its important to be able to cough to clear your lungs.
- Viral pneumonia: Antibiotics are not used to fight viruses. There are no treatments for most viral causes of pneumonia. However, if the flu virus is thought to be the cause, antiviral drugs might be prescribed, such as oseltamivir , zanamivir , or peramivir , to decrease the length and severity of the illness. Over-the-counter medicines to relieve pain and lower fever are usually recommended. Other medicines and therapies such as breathing treatments and exercises to loosen mucus may be prescribed by your doctor.
- Fungal pneumonia: Antifungal medication is prescribed if a fungus is the cause of your pneumonia.
You May Like: If You Have Pneumonia Will You Have A Fever
Treatment For Coughing Bloody Mucus
Your treatment will depend on the cause of your bloody mucus. If you have a pulmonary disease like COPD or a chronic breathing condition like chronic bronchitis or bronchiectasis, coughing up bloody mucus can be a sign of infection or a worsening condition. Depending on the severity of these cases, you may be prescribed antibiotics, breathing treatments, pulmonary rehabilitation or oxygen therapy. You may also require hospitalization in certain situations. Treatments will focus on treating any infection or inflammation, as well as helping to reduce excessive coughing or mucus to clear your airways and make breathing less taxing. Your doctor will also want to treat your symptoms to help you learn to manage your condition on your own when possible. Once your health care providers are able to assess what is causing you to cough up bloody mucus, they can ascertain how to best treat your symptoms to manage your condition in the long term.
When Would I Need To Be Hospitalized For Pneumonia
If your case of pneumonia is more severe, you may need tostay in the hospital for treatment. Hospital treatments may include:
- Fluids, antibiotics and other medicines given through an IV
- Breathing treatments and exercises to help loosen mucus
People most likely to be hospitalized are those who are most frail and/or at increased risk, including:
- Babies and young children
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with health conditions that affect the heart and lungs
It may take six to eight weeks to return to a normal level of functioning and well-being if youve been hospitalized with pneumonia.
Besides Vaccination What Else Can I Do To Prevent Bacterial And Viral Pneumonia
Receiving all recommended vaccinations is one of the best ways to prevent pneumonia. Additionally, there are several other ways to prevent pneumonia, including:
- Quitting smoking, and avoiding secondhand smoke. Smoking damages your lungs.
- Washing your hands before eating, before handling food, after using the restroom, and after being outside. If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding being around people who are sick. Ask them to visit when they are feeling better.
- Not touching or sharing objects that are shared with others. Germs can be transferred from object to you if you touch your nose or mouth without washing or sanitizing your hands first.
- Eating a healthy diet, exercise, and get enough rest. Healthy habits keep your immune system strong.
- Getting treated for any other infections or health conditions you may have. These conditions could weaken your immune system, which could increase your chance of infections.
- Avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol.
What Causes Someone To Cough Up Blood
Peter Doss, M.D., diagnostic and interventional radiology specialist at Bayshore Medical Center, wants to be very clear about one thing: Any time you cough up blood, it requires immediate medical attention.
When people start to vomit large amounts of blood, its extremely upsetting, so people usually seek medical care right away. Thats not something people really ignore, Dr. Doss says. But even a small amount of blood should not be ignored. It could be an underlying sign that something bad is happening to the body.
Don’t Miss: How Long Can A Cough Last After Pneumonia
What Is Fungal Pneumonia
Three types of fungi living in soil are known causes of pneumonia:
- Coccidioides immitis and Coccidiodes posadasii are two related fungi common to the American Southwest. Both can cause coccidioidomycosis, also known as cocci or valley fever.
- Histoplasma capsulatum is found in the central and eastern United States, especially areas around the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, and causes a disease called histoplasmosis.
- Cryptococcus is a fungi found in soil and bird droppings all across the country.
Most people who inhale these fungi don’t get sick, but if your immune system is weak, you may develop pneumonia.
Another fungus, Pneumocystis jirovecii, can generate an infection in premature, malnourished infants, and in people with a weakened immune system, such as those who have HIV or AIDS.
The symptoms of pneumonia that are caused by fungi are often similar to those of other forms of pneumonia, including a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
But because this type of pneumonia usually affects people with weakened immune systems, symptoms tend to develop faster, and people often experience a high fever.
How Do The Lungs Work
Your lungs main job is to get oxygen into your blood and remove carbon dioxide. This happens during breathing. You breathe 12 to 20 times per minute when you are not sick. When you breathe in, air travels down the back of your throat and passes through your voice box and into your windpipe . Your trachea splits into two air passages . One bronchial tube leads to the left lung, the other to the right lung. For the lungs to perform their best, the airways need to be open as you breathe in and out. Swelling and mucus can make it harder to move air through the airways, making it harder to breathe. This leads to shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and feeling more tired than normal.
Don’t Miss: Pneumonia Vaccine 65 And Older