Experts Explain What Your Mucus Color Means, and When to be Concerned

If you’re blowing your nose regularly, it’s hard not to notice your mucus—and what color it is. So it can also be alarming if you happen to spot yellow, brown, bloody, or green mucus in your used tissue.

What does the color of your mucus mean, exactly? It turns out that your phlegm color can give you a little insight into how things are going with your health. And, while change in your mucus color will likely come with other symptoms that could clue you into what’s happening, seeing mucus that’s different from your usual hue could be a sign that something is off, says Elise Lippmann, M.D., a comprehensive ear, nose, and throat specialist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Here’s what you need to know.

© PeopleImages – Getty Images Whether your mucus is yellow, green, red, or brown, this expert advice will help you understand what each snot color means and when to call a doctor.

What is mucus, exactly?

Mucus is a substance that covers the moist surfaces or your body, including your eyes, nostrils, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Mucus is so common in your body that the average person makes more than a liter of mucus a day.

Download our mobile app

Mucus contains trillions of microbes and works as a first line of defense against microorganisms that cause infections, the NIH says.

What color should mucus be?

At baseline, you shouldn’t really notice your mucus, says David Corry, M.D., professor of immunology, allergy, and rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine. Still, “under normal, healthy circumstances your mucus should be clear,” Dr. Lippmann says. Worth noting, per Dr. Corry: Healthy mucus can also be white.

Your mucus can change color depending on what’s happening with your health and even in your environment, though. “Things like infections, nosebleeds, allergies, and environmental exposures such as tobacco use or heavy pollution can change the color of your mucus,” Dr. Lippmann says.

What do different mucus colors mean?

If your mucus color changes slightly from one nose blow to the next, you shouldn’t panic. But if you’re consistently noticing that your mucus color has changed, here’s what could be going on:

  • Yellow. Yellow or yellowish mucus can suggest that your body is fighting an infection. “It may be viral, such as a cold, or bacterial,” Dr. Lippmann says. “It is often a good sign because it means that the white blood cells in your body are doing their job to fight the infection.”
  • Brown. This is “usually a sign of old blood, which breaks down into different colors, including brown,” Dr. Corry says. That might be due to a previous nosebleed, but there are a few other things that can be behind brown mucus, Dr. Lippmann says, including tobacco use or even heavy air pollution.
  • Red or bloody. Blood-tinged mucus is usually from having dry nasal passages or getting hit in the nose, Dr. Lippmann says. “More rarely, it can be from growths in the nose,” she adds. You can even develop reddish mucus after eating red beets and foods with bright red food coloring, Dr. Corry says, “giving the false, but still alarming impression that blood is present.”
  • Green: Green or greenish mucus “often indicates a bacterial infection, which may require antibiotic treatment,” Dr. Lippmann says.

When should you call a doctor about your mucus color?

It’s important to pay attention to the symptoms that come along with a change in your mucus color, Dr. Lippmann says. “Fever, loss of sense of smell, pain or pressure in face, and nasal congestion can help determine whether treatment with antibiotics or other medication is indicated,” she says. Meaning, if you don’t have a fever or sinus pain along with your yellow mucus, your doctor will likely diagnose you with the common cold (although they’ll likely want to test you for COVID-19, just to be safe). But if you have intense pain or pressure in your face along with green mucus, your doctor may diagnose you with a severe sinus infection and prescribe antibiotics.

Brown or red mucus “should elicit greater alarm and a lower threshold for getting to the doctor,” says Dr. Corry. “Brown or bloody mucus accompanied by worrying signs like facial swelling and pain, altered vision, altered mental status, or high fever probably merits a trip to the doctor before the sun sets.” Without those signs, you can wait a few days to see if it resolves, he says—unless there’s a lot of bloody mucus. A cup or more, even without other symptoms? Go see the doc. Dr. Lippman adds that if you have a bloody nose that lasts longer than 45 minutes, that also warrants intervention.

So keep an eye on those tissues—they can tell you when it’s time to call the doctor.

Try 200+ at home workout videos from Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Prevention, and more on All Out Studio free for 14 days!

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Govt staff working on extension to be sacked; plan against drugs soon: CR Paatil

© Provided by The Indian Express Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil on Monday said the state government has decided to sack several employees who are working on the extension since ... Read more »

Tesla breaches $1 trillion market cap

Tesla Inc on Monday breached a trillion dollars in market capitalization, the fifth U.S. company to join the club, which includes Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet. Read more »

Pupils left ‘upset and intimidated' by anti-vaccination protests outside school

Pupils have been left feeling “upset” and “intimidated” by <a href="/tag/anti-vaccination“>anti-vaccination campaigners outside the school gates and the campaign could be making some children hesitant to get the Covid-19 jab. ... Read more »

Democrats mull tax on assets of US billionaires

US President Joe Biden’s Democratic allies are considering imposing a tax on the wealthiest Americans, a longstanding goal of the political left that could finally be enacted to pay for ... Read more »

MacOS Monterey is here: How to download Apple's newly released operating system

MacOS Monterey has finally arrived. Apple’s new operating system for Macs launched at 10 a.m. PT on Oct. 25. The Monterey OS comes alongside upgrades to Apple’s MacBook line, including multiple new M1 chips and a ... Read more »

Tromsø: 46 new corona cases registered in the last 24 hours

A total of 46 new corona infection cases have been registered in Tromsø in the last 24 hours. According to Tromsø Municipality, 318 corona tests were carried out on Sunday. ... Read more »

Texas Tech fires head coach Matt Wells

Texas Tech is moving on from Matt Wells. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported Monday that Texas Tech has dismissed Wells as its head football coach. Wells was in his third ... Read more »

Russian nation-state actor behind SolarWinds cyberattack at it again: Microsoft

The same actors behind the SolarWinds breach that infiltrated nine U.S. government agencies is attempting to do the same targeting the global supply chain, researchers from Microsoft have concluded. Russian ... Read more »

Biden watches kid's infrastructure project topple during trip to NJ school

President Joe Biden talks to pre-k students building blocks at East End elementary school in North Plainfield, New Jersey. AFP via Getty Images President Biden watched a preschooler’s infrastructure project ... Read more »

Joe Judge is the anti-Matt Rhule

Two second-year NFL head coaches going about it in very different ways. Joe Judge does not emote, ever, in his postgame messaging. He does not give the fans — most ... Read more »

Li Hongyi creates ice cream website featuring reviews & map of places worth trying in S'pore

© Provided by Mothership Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: Those who believe that there is no such thing as too much ice cream might be pleased ... Read more »

Blackstone's co-head of hedge fund unit McCormick to leave firm-sources

© Reuters/Brendan McDermid FILE PHOTO: The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock ... Read more »

Mac Jones' girlfriend Sophie Scott really enjoyed Patriots' beatdown of Jets

Mac Jones’ girlfriend, Sophie Scott, had the best time watching the Patriots’ 54-13 beatdown of the Jets in Week 7. Scott, a University of Alabama alum, documented the excitement at ... Read more »

Tesla FSD 'issues' in 10.3 update result in rollback, before apparent fix

Tesla this past weekend pushed a new update to its Full Self-Driving beta, a Level 2 driver-assist system that is not fully autonomous, but the company quickly needed to backtrack. ... Read more »

Alan Hawkshaw obituary

For five decades Alan Hawkshaw, who has died aged 84, was a hard-working musician and composer, writing the themes for Grange Hill and Channel 4 News, as well as the ... Read more »

Affordable Care Act: Lower premiums, more choices for Obamacare open enrollment 2022

Consumers shopping for health coverage on the federal Affordable Care Act exchanges can likely find lower premiums and more choices for 2022 — as well as generous government assistance, according ... Read more »

Victims Sue Organizers of Violent Charlottesville Rally Under 150-Year-Old Ku Klux Klan Act

In a civil trial, lawyers for some of those hurt during violence at a “Unite the Right” rally plan to invoke a 150-year-old law used to shield freed slaves from ... Read more »

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin unveils plans for Orbital Reef, a 'business park' in outer space

© Blue Origin Blue Origin Blue Origin will work with Sierra Space and Boeing to deploy a commercial space station. The station, “Orbital Reef,” reflects Jeff Bezos’ vision of performing ... Read more »

How to get more Basic and Advanced Components in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

© Provided by GamePur No game worth its salt would give players a static hero to work with, and in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, players can level up their ... Read more »

British Grocery Stores Are Stocking Empty Shelves with Cardboard Cutouts of Food

© Provided by Food & Wine Artur Carvalho / Getty Images Earlier this month, British consumer-goods publication The Grocer surveyed 1,000 people to ask whether they were concerned that the ... Read more »

The Cheesecake Factory Is Celebrating Halloween With Free Slices Of Dessert This Week

© The Cheesecake Factory/Getty Images To get ready for October 31, these chain restaurants are offering free food, drinks, and discounts to get you ready for Halloween. Love it or ... Read more »

Novak Djokovic will give 'more importance' to vaccine stance over winning Australian Open

Novak Djokovic is expected to give more importance to his vaccine stance than the Australian Open. Tennis legend Tracy Austin admitted she thought the world No 1 would choose to ... Read more »

39-year-old emerges as surprise contender for vacant Cardiff City role

© Provided by Football League World World Cup Qualifiers Europe – Group E – Wales v Czech Republic Northern Irishman Paul Munster has emerged as a surprise contender for the ... Read more »

Bad weather off Canadian coast preventing efforts to board container ship after fire

Tugboat pours water on the container ship Zim Kingston after it caught fire off the coast of Victoria OTTAWA (Reuters) – Bad weather off Canada's Pacific Coast on Monday prevented ... Read more »

'Got to be talking' - Sky pundit tells Leeds to 'expect bids' for one man after recent milestone

© Provided by Transfer Tavern Raphinha with Neymar Former England striker Kevin Phillips believes Raphinha could leave Leeds United, especially now that he is a Brazil international. The Lowdown: Raphinha’s ... Read more »

James Michael Tyler: Friends producer leads tributes after Gunther star dies from cancer

James Michael Taylor pictured in 2014 at a Friends anniversary event (Getty Images) The executive producer of Friends has led tributes to actor James Michael Tyler who has died aged ... Read more »

West Ham told what they need to do to keep hold of in-form ace

© PA Images Declan Rice and Michail Antonio in action for West Ham vs Burnley in July 2020 A former England international has told West Ham how they can keep ... Read more »

Highlights, AFG vs SCO, T20 World Cup 2021, Cricket Score: Afghanistan win by 130 runs

© Provided by Firstpost Highlights, AFG vs SCO, T20 World Cup 2021, Cricket Score: Afghanistan win by 130 runs 22:52 (IST) That’s it from us folks! It was a mammoth ... Read more »

ULEZ expansion: Experts unveil how new charges will affect property prices across London

The extensive ULEZ zone will see new emissions standards penalise heavily polluting vehicles driving across London. With residents liable to pay the daily charge when driving in the area, the ... Read more »

Labour piles pressure on PM and Chancellor to axe VAT on fuel bills

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Labour piled more pressure on ministers to cut fuel bills for hard-pressed Brits today by cutting VAT. Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves called on ... Read more »

Weather news: An autumn coastal storm will rapidly develop, eying the Northeast

As a historic “bomb cyclone” winds down on the West Coast, computer forecast models are hinting at a possible autumn nor’easter on the East Coast starting Tuesday. © CNN Weather ... Read more »

The Big Picture: Katrina Kaif dons cop avatar, impresses Ranveer Singh with Simmba dialogue; Watch

© Provided by Pinkvilla Actress Katrina Kaif and filmmaker Rohit Shetty are all set to make an appearance on the sets of ‘The Big Picture’ to promote their upcoming film ... Read more »

Seeing Double! Buddy Valastro and Guy Fieri Have Fun Father-Son Meetup in Las Vegas

Like father like son! © Provided by People Buddy Valastro/Instagram Buddy Valastro, Guy Fieri Cake Boss‘ Buddy Valastro had a happy run-in while paying a visit to Guy Fieri‘s Vegas ... Read more »

More than a litmus test: How the Big Lie threatens to crack up Trump's coalition

© Provided by Salon John Eastman; Steve Bannon; Donald Trump; Mike Lindell John Eastman, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and Mike Lindell Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images There is one thing Republicans ... Read more »

Tesla breaks $1tn valuation barrier after Hertz orders 100,000 vehicles

Tesla’s market value has broken through the $1tn mark for the first time after the US electric car pioneer received an order for 100,000 of its vehicles from the rental ... Read more »

Bigg Boss 15: Vidhi Pandya SLAMS Pratik Sehajpal for instigating Jay Bhanushali during tasks [EXCLUSIVE]

© Provided by Bigg Boss 15 is moving forward in a fast speed. The show is getting all the love from the audience now. Recently, we saw a surprising ... Read more »

Saudi pledges more than $1 bn in 'green era' initiatives

Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler pledged more than $1 billion for new global environmental initiatives on Monday, taking further steps to bolster the green credentials of the world’s top oil ... Read more »

'Not charging crime': Two San Francisco prosecutors leave DA Chesa Boudin to join recall effort

Two San Francisco prosecutors quit their jobs in the district attorney’s office of Chesa Boudin, joining the effort to recall him. © Provided by Washington Examiner FILE – In this ... Read more »

Tennessee senator indicted on campaign cash scheme charges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee state senator and a Nashville social club owner were indicted on charges that they violated campaign finance laws by illegally concealing the transfer of ... Read more »

Renée Zellweger sells Cali spread for $6.4M in less than two weeks

Show me the money: It didn’t take even a fortnight for Renée Zellweger (inset) to sell her fancy LA-area home. Anthony Barcelo / Gareth Catterm Two-time Oscar winner Renée Zellweger, ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic