The Rainbow in your Nose

To many, especially this time of year, the thought of mucus brings images of sniffles, sneezing, dirty tissues and fears of germs.

Made up of salt, cells, water and mucin, Mucus is a thick slimy, usually clear-colored fluid, which the body produces to lubricate and protect your nasal passages. An adult produces about four cups of mucus each day from the nose and sinus cavities alone.

Mucus is present in our bodies whether we are sick or healthy and actually has a beneficial role in our wellness:congestion, cilia, saline nasal rinse, blow nose, mucous, sinuses, nasal congestion, mouth breathing, sniffles
• It makes it easier to swallow by moistening food,
• Mucus moisturizes air when we inhale and lubricates nasal passages,
• It protects our lungs from harmful bacteria and helps get rid of foreign particles from the body.
Without a normal amount of mucus in our bodies, we wouldn’t function properly.

So how do you know what’s “normal?” A change in mucus color is usually a sign of a health problem or infection developing in the body.

White Mucus. Clear is good but any change to white or cloudy indicates a possible health problem. The whitish color may be caused from certain foods, such as dairy products, viral conditions or even GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).

Yellow Mucus maybe a sign that the body is fighting off a virus or sinus infection.

Green Mucus may indicate that a person has a bacterial type infection. Green mucus tends to be thick and can lead to nasal congestion, sinus pressure and headaches. In an effort to rid our bodies of the infection we’re programmed to produce more mucus when something is wrong. The extra mucus drips down the back of the throat triggering irritation and coughing. It’s a good idea to see your medical practitioner if green mucus persists so that an appropriate treatment can be prescribed.

Reddish Brown Mucus often occurs from an irritation to the sinus lining which causes it to become inflamed and bleed and appear brownish in color. Smoking and consuming a lot of alcoholic drinks can damage the lining and cause bleeding as well. Also, being in a sandy or highly-polluted environment can cause the mucus in your nose to become darker due to dirt particles that become trapped in the mucus when you inhale.

Excessive mucus can be a sign that something is going on. Typically, allergy sufferers will experience runny noses with clear mucus. Use of a nasal spray/rinse can help keep the nasal passages clear and moisturized and will result in an overall good healthy nose.

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