What is Your Snot Saying to You?

April 6, 2017


The color of your mucus can tell you what’s going on in your nasal passages.  Here are various colors and what they could potentially mean for you.

CLEAR – Normal

Straight mucus is mostly water, with proteins, antibodies and dissolved salts. Your nasal tissues produce this all day long. Most of it flows down the back of your throat and is dissolved in the stomach.

WHITE – Congested

Swollen, inflamed tissues in your nose are slowing the flow of mucus, causing it to lose moisture and become thick and cloudy. This can be a sign of a nasal infection or a cold.

YELLOW – Progressing Cold or Infection

White blood cells and other infection-fighting cells are working to fight microbial infection. Your cold can last up to 2 weeks.

GREEN – Immune System is Battling

Mucus has accumulated and is thick with dead white blood cells. If after 12 days your condition doesn’t improve, you may want to see a doctor. See a doctor sooner if you’re feverish or nauseated.

PINK OR RED – Bloody

Nasal tissues have become broken. Perhaps from a lack of moisture, irritation or possible impact.

BROWN – Possibly Blood

A more likely explanation is that dirt or debris may have been inhaled.

BLACK – Could Mean a Fungal Infection

If you don’t smoke, you’re not a user of illegal drugs, and know you don’t have a compromised immune system, definitely make an appointment.

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