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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What does blood in the phlegm indicate?

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Answered by

Critical Care Specialist
Practicing since : 2012
Answered : 837 Questions
hello doctor,

I am 29 years old. I have been suffering from mild cold and cough since last three days. But when i spit phlegm first time in morning or after a long gap of time, it appears to be full of blood and the subsequent spits appear normal. I have no other complaints except sore throat. Is this blood in phlegm normal ? or could it be something serious ?

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 in Internal Doctor Category
Answered by Dr. Arnab Banerjee 35 minutes later
Brief Answer:
persistent blood in sputum needs further evaluation...

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXXXXX Welcome to HealthcareMagic,
I've gone through your query and understand your concerns,

Although some blood in sputum (phlegm) can be seen due to respiratory tract infection, if it's persisting, then definitely needs further evaluation without any delay...

Since you haven't mentioned anything regarding any medications, I'm assuming your not on any medications like blood thinners (please let me know otherwise)...

If persisting, you need to get evaluated by a Pulmonologist preferably (chest physician), including a clinical evaluation and few relevant investigations (CBC, LFT, Urea, Creatinine, Chest X-ray, Sputum microscopy; Gm-stain, Cytology, and Culture sensitivity to look into it further).

Meanwhile, stay well hydrated by drinking a lot of water, take steam inhalation thrice daily, for the time being, avoid forcefully sneezing/coughing, avoid cold-drinks, sour foods as well as dairy products for the time-being...Have simple home-made foods, drink plenty of warm liquids (eg. Soups, broths, bournvita, menta tea etc.)...

Betadine gargle will be helpful for the cough/throat irritations. Do the gargling three times daily for next 4-5 days.. also put a pinch of salt in lukewarm water and gargle twice daily as an alternative fashion for next few days...

If despite all these, symptoms still persisting/any further worsening, occurrence of fever, if any rash over any parts of the body, then I'd strongly suggest getting clinically evaluated by any Pulmonologist (if unavailable then any Internal Medicine specialist) or at any nearby healthcare facility and management accordingly...

I've tried to make it as simple as possible for you to understand, please let me know if there are any further concerns...

Take Care
Kind Regards

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What does blood in the phlegm indicate? 1 hour later
Thanks for your quick response. I am not on any medication but i have a 6 months old baby whom i am brestfeeding. Please let me know if it fine to still breastfeed him even if i have an infection. I would anyways try to see a pulmonologist asap.

Answered by Dr. Arnab Banerjee 29 minutes later
Brief Answer:
exclusive breastfeeding can be tapered off if the baby's completed 6 months already...

Detailed Answer:
Welcome back,

Exclusive breastfeeding can be tapered off if the baby's completed 6 months already, I'd suggest you please discuss it with the Pediatrician... However, during the infective period, especially, cough and cold, it's always ideal to focus on formula feed, as this the most commonly spread one (not necessarily through breastfeeding, but because it's airborne infection)...

Yes, please schedule the appointment with the Pulmonologist and try to use face mask whenever possible (especially when coming in contact with the baby)...

Meanwhile follow all other advises as already explained earlier...

Let me know how you stay on the due course...

Take Care
Kind Regards

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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