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Acute Hemoptysis


Acute hemoptysis is sudden coughing or spitting up of blood. This occurs when blood vessels in your airway or lungs weaken or break, and begin to bleed. You may bleed in small or large amounts that appear in your sputum (spit). Sometimes, bleeding from other areas, such as the nose, mouth, or throat, cause people to cough or spit up blood.



  • Antibiotics: This medicine may be given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Antitussives: These medicines help control or stop your cough.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider in 2 days or as directed:

You may need frequent visits to monitor your condition and prevent further blood loss. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Do not take herbal medicines:

Herbal supplements increase your risk of bleeding. Examples are garlic, gingko, and ginseng.

Do not smoke, and do not go to smoky areas:

Smoke may worsen your hemoptysis. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. You are more likely to have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other health problems if you smoke. Stop smoking to improve your health and the health of those around you. If you smoke, ask for information about how to stop.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have new or increased shortness of breath.
  • You have a fever.
  • You lose weight without trying.
  • You feel more weak and tired than usual.
  • You have a cough that does not improve or gets worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have new or worse chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Your bleeding gets worse or you cough a large amount of blood (more than 1 tablespoon).
  • You cannot stop vomiting.
  • You are so dizzy that you think you may fall or you faint.
  • You have pain or swelling in your legs.
  • Your legs and arms feel cold or look pale.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Acute Hemoptysis (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes