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Phlegm, blood in cough. What could be the cause?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 540 Questions
For the past 4 days, in the morning When I cleared my throat to cough up any mucus /sputum, I've noticed a blob of yellow phlegm with blood and while spitting that it comes out like dhal.... I have noticed yellow phlegm the past week in the morning. It's usually not yellow anymore in the day(back to white) & occasionally there's a blob of blood. I don't feel like I've got a cold, no cough. My voice is totally changed.
Posted Thu, 2 May 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Sujeet N Charugulla 11 hours later
Hello XXXXXXX and thanks for your query.

I shall make an effort to provide you with good professional recommendations specific to your questions.

I see that your phlegm issues has got you worried. I guess, as you have not mentioned any treatment history I must assume you have not been given any medications so far for this condition. Well, with your brief history - I have the following suggestions for you now :

1. Yellow colour indicates a certain bacterial infection. But, that does not mean the change into white, the infection has subsided - but in fact it may be continuing. You may require a sputum culture and sensitivity before a doctor can prescribe the correct antibiotic course if deemed necessary.

2. Blood in sputum is not diagnostic of a condition - although theoretically it may signify other serious infections, but you need not worry as it may also be due to simple irritation of the mucosal lining in the throat. A complete clinical examination including your chest along with tests may be necessary to give a complete answer to this. But, you will have to take this seriously, as you have stated that blood has been occasionally present.

3. Voice change is normal in some long standing respiratory conditions especially involving the throat as your vocal chords may be a little inflamed due to the body's generalized immune response. Try soothening the throat with warm salt water gargle 4 times a day. Else, diluted Iodine mouth wash is a good alternative.

4. Get your throat examined too with an ENT specialist, as you have already have the history of tonsil removal surgery.

I do not see any grave diagnosis apart from a possible bacterial infection for now. A physical examination is mandated nevertheless.

Let me know if I have missed out any other concern in your question.

Yet again, I duly appreciate your query to me, I do hope that you have found something useful to help you and I shall be glad to answer any further apprehensions.


Dr Sujeet N Charugulla,
Consultant Physician.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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