Snot and Mucus Decoded: The Meaning of Snot Colors

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

When you have colds, it is normal to blow snot and although it’s gross, it is part of our body’s defense mechanism from invading pathogens. This is why doctors often ask about the color of your snot as well as its texture and consistency to determine your condition. The color of this snot or mucus will help determine not only your illness but also the kind of medication that you need to get better. So if you are interested to know what a snot color can tell you then this article can help you with that.

Before we get to the colors, you need to know what snot or mucus is all about. Mucus basically lines the nose as well as other parts of the body. They act as guards to protect your body from anything bad that might harm your body like germs and dirt. This mucus is made up of cells, walter, mucin which is called as glycoprotein and of course salt. They are usually produced in the respiratory tract as well as other parts of the body. Snot is the same but it usually comes from the nose.

Mucus lines the nose and other parts of the body and acts as a guard against bad stuff that might enter the body such as dirt and germs. Mucus is made of water, cells, salts, and mucin, which is a glycoprotein. Mucus producing membranes line the respiratory tract and other parts of the body. So if your body is producing snots or mucus with color, it might be an indication of an infection, bacteria, virus or other problems. That is why it is important to know the different color so you can also alert your physician.


Clear Mucus

This means that you don’t have infection or any viral attack. Normal mucus is usually thick and viscous which has the same texture as glue. If you are producing more than the usual amount it could simply mean that you have allergies. If this happens, make sure to inform your doctor about it.

White Mucus

White colored snots basically come from consuming dairy products. The fat found in these dairy products causes the mucus to become thicker and stickier. Sinus infections, colds may worsen if you are taking dairy products so make sure to avoid them while you have it.

Yellow Mucus

Yellow snots signified sinus infection and may signify that you have virus infection. If the snot is colored bright or light yellow, this means that your body is fighting. It usually darkens in a few days too. Golden yellow colored snots are usually caused by staphylococcus aureus bacteria. If it becomes dark yellow, yi could mean that you are suffering from chest infections or possibly bronchitis. However producing yellow snots does not always mean that you need to see a doctor right away, keep in mind that your body is compensating and looking for ways to fight off the bacteria. In case your cold lasts longer than expected and the snot you are producing becomes worse, get yourself checked.

 Green Mucus

Green mucus usually tells bacterial and fungal infection. This color is produced by white blood cells that react whenever there is infection or inflammation in the body. When these white cells die, they release a green pigment which mixes with the mucus thus giving it the green color. The green color becomes bright on the first day but usually darkens in a couple of days. If not treated immediately, bacteria and fungi can grow in the mucus and antibiotics may be needed to treat this condition.

Blue Mucus

Yes, mucus can turn blue! This is caused by bacteria called Pseydomonas pyocyanea which happens to about 1 in 10,000 people. When this blue snot becomes thick and lasts longer than several days, seek medical attention immediately.

Orange/Red/Brown/Black Mucus

Reddish or orange tinge blood usually signifies blood that has mixed with the mucus which gives it the reddish tinge. Although there is nothing to worry, the sinuses may become inflamed and can case soreness in the nose. For people with asthma, a reddish/pinkish tinge can be seen in the mucus. The brown colored mucus is usually seen among smokers. It is due to the mixed particles from the cigarettes while the black colored mucus is caused by inhaled air pollutants.

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