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Symptom Checker

Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.

Coughs and Colds

Because you are coughing up blood, there is a possibility that you have a serious lung condition such as a cancer. You need to see a doctor so that you can be examined and an x-ray can be obtained. If you are short of breath or if you have coughed up more than several tablespoons of blood, you should proceed to an emergency medical facility.

The most common illness that causes a person to cough up blood is acute bronchitis. This is an infection that is usually caused by a virus, and it is not dangerous in most people. However, a cancer in the lung is also a possible explanation and a chest x-ray should be obtained. Some people who cough up blood require additional tests, such as a computed tomography scan (CT scan) or the procedure, "bronchoscopy." Bronchoscopy involves maneuvering a camera at the end of a narrow flexible instrument into the interior of your airways, so they may be examined.


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