Yep… This is probably going to be a gross article, but I promise.. very informative! We are all very aware of the slimy goopy boogers also known as snot or mucus, and that’s the topic!
Mucus is a slimy substance produced by the body’s mucous membranes that lines various organs and body cavities. It is essential for keeping these areas moist and lubricated, trapping foreign particles, and protecting against infection.
In your nose especially, snot is your first line of defense in terms of preventing infections and acting as a filter so nothing enters your body. It traps particles and organisms, so the bacteria or debris that we breathe in doesn’t go directly into our lungs.
However, the color of this snot can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside your nasal passages — and what that could mean for your health.
What Does Snot Color Say About Your Health?
Snot color can tell you many things, including whether you have allergies, a nosebleed, a cold or a sinus infection. However, changing snot color is almost a bigger indicator that something is up with your health.
The consistency of your snot could also be a warning sign. If it’s thicker, that could represent your hydration status, such as being behind in your fluid intake, or having too much dehydrating coffee or sodas.
How much snot you’re producing can also be telling. If you’re producing more of it, that might be something that’s important to note also. That may reflect an exposure to something that was irritating, like perfume or cigarette smoke. It could also be signs of allergies or an allergic exposure.”
Here’s the meaning of each snot color:
Generally, this is normal. Straight mucus is mostly water, with proteins, antibodies and dissolved salts. Your nasal tissues produce it 24/7. Most of it flows down the back of your throat to be dissolved in the stomach.
This can mean you’re congested. Your nose has swollen, inflamed tissues that 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 cold.
This can mean a cold or infection that’s progressing. The yellowish tinge comes from white blood cells that rush to the site of the infection and then are swept away after working to fight it off.
Focus on how you’re feeling and check for a fever. Colds inevitably last 7-10 days. Hunker down and wait it out with supportive care tactics as needed.
Your immune system is really fighting back and your mucus is thick with dead white blood cells. If you’re still sick after about 10-12 days, you may want to see a doctor.
It could be sinusitis, a bacterial infection that is treated with a round of antibiotics. If you’re feverish or really sick, see a doctor soon.
You can also get something called chronic sinusitis, which is a longer-term inflammatory illness, where you’ll have some symptoms of a sinus infection for months. It can include post-nasal drip. It could be facial pain, pressure, congestion or difficulty breathing, or a change to your sense of smell, and feeling unwell.
Pink or Red Mucus
Your nasal tissue in the nose has somehow become broken — perhaps because it’s dry, irritated or experienced some kind of impact. Full-on red could be a nosebleed related most likely to trauma, or possibly infection.
However, this color isn’t always cause for concern. A few specks of blood or a pinkish hue mucus may not be a big deal. It could be just damage or irritation of the lining.
For example, when we’re sick and we’re blowing our nose a lot or you’re rubbing your nose a lot, that can cause a couple of blood vessels to break which might give you a little bit of bleeding.
This shade could be old blood, but likely it’s something inhaled, like dirt or dust. If you smoke, you are more likely to see this because of tar build up as well.
If you see black snot you could be breathing in something like debris at a workplace and that might be collected in the mucus of your nose.
Additionally, if you don’t smoke or use illegal drugs, black mucus may mean a serious fungal infection.
These infections usually occur in people with compromised immune systems. If you are one of them, you’re probably already seeing a doctor. If not, I would suggest to make an appointment.
Does Green Mucus Always Mean You Have An Infection?
That is not always the case. Snot could change color (or you could have more of it) if you have an abundance of bacteria growing in your nose.
Determining if you have an infection comes down to how you feel and how long you feel that way. If you’re feeling perfectly fine, generally speaking, that’s not really a significant infection in most cases.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to dry out excessive mucus and alleviate symptoms. These include:
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help thin out the mucus, making it easier to expel. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day.
- Use a humidifier: A humidifier can add moisture to the air and help thin out the mucus. This can make it easier to breathe and alleviate congestion.
- Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam can help loosen mucus and relieve congestion. You can do this by filling a bowl with hot water and breathing in the steam or taking a hot shower.
- Saline nasal spray: Saline nasal sprays can help moisturize and clear the nasal passages, making it easier to breathe. You can purchase saline nasal sprays at most drugstores or make your own at home.
- Spicy foods: Spicy foods such as chili peppers, ginger, and horseradish can help clear congestion and reduce mucus production.
- Honey: Honey has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe sore throats and coughs. Add a spoonful to warm tea or simply eat it straight off the spoon.
- Avoid irritants: Avoiding irritants such as smoke, dust, and allergens can help reduce mucus production and alleviate symptoms.
Understanding what the color of your mucus means can help you take appropriate action to treat the underlying condition.
Well, there you have it, folks! Now you know that the color of your mucous can actually tell you a lot about what’s going on in your body. But let’s be real, no one really wants to spend their day examining the color and consistency of their snot.
So, the next time someone asks you what the color of your mucous means, just tell them it means you’re a human being with a functioning respiratory system, and that’s all they really need to know. And if all else fails, just blame it on the pollen. Happy sneezing!