Coughing up or vomiting blood

Coughing up or vomiting blood

Though a common occurrence in many accidental injury scenarios, coughing up or vomiting blood is a telltale sign of internal bleeding that needs medical attention right away. Coughing up blood can occur when you’ve hurt your throat and there’s damage to a small vein; vomiting blood could indicate that there’s damage to your esophagus (the tube connecting your mouth and stomach) or even a tear in your stomach lining. Either way, if you can’t hold down solid food but keep spitting up dark red liquid, call 911 immediately and make sure an ambulance takes you directly to an emergency room.

If you cough up blood or vomit blood, call 911 or visit an emergency room. The issue might be serious, like a pulmonary embolism, but it could also be relatively minor and easily treatable with a few days of rest. If in doubt, err on the side of caution. Also consider going to an emergency room if your abdominal pain is severe and accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

This is a sign of internal bleeding, either from a tear in a blood vessel or from an injury to your gastrointestinal tract. Coughing up blood may be more common in people who smoke, drink too much alcohol, have bronchitis or pneumonia, or have certain cancers. Vomiting blood can be just as alarming as coughing it up; it usually signals hemorrhaging somewhere along your digestive tract. But if you experience one or both of these signs after taking aspirin or other over-the-counter painkillers, there’s likely nothing serious going on—aspirin tends to cause irritation and bleeding at higher doses than those found in over-the-counter medications.

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