How many times have you blown your nose and then looked at the tissue afterward? Many of us do. But when you look at it and see what color it is, what does it really mean? Well, according to the CDC and the Cleveland Clinic, here’s what it really means:
White mucus could mean a bunch of different things. Most often it means that your nasal passages are irritated and swollen, restricting mucus flow and causing it to dry out. This could be due to a nasal infection or a cold. But dairy products, allergies, and eating dehydrating foods such as coffee, tea, and alcohol can also turn your mucus white. Acid reflux or dry conditions may also be the culprit.
Bloody (Red/Pink-ish) Snot
Bloody mucus signals that there’s a lot going on in your nasal passages, including dryness and irritation, and the tissues have become damaged. This results from any number of things, including allergies, infection, and lots of blowing or rubbing. Physical trauma — like walking into a wall, face-first — can also turn your snot red.
Clear mucus is totally normal. The body naturally produces about 1.5 quarts of it every day. It keeps your nasal passages lubricated and germ-free by acting as a moisturizing barrier against dehydration and foreign objects, including bacteria and viruses. But if the amount drastically increases, it could mean that you’re suffering from allergies or the start of a cold or flu.
When you have an infection, whether it be a bacteria or virus, your immune system’s white blood cells rush to the site to fight and destroy the pathogenic invader. After they’ve done their job and die, they’re flushed out of your body with your mucus, and in the process can dye it yellow. Yellow mucus doesn’t mean that you need antibiotics, but it means your body is fighting something; possibly a cold. At this point, you may want to wait it out and see if things don’t improve after 10 to 14 days.
Your mucus can turn green from the even larger build up of dead white blood cells. This potentially means that…