what they say about our health and when we should go to the doctor

Mucus is a thick, slippery and sticky substance, which is composed of water, mucins and inorganic salts.

The mucus It has an essential function for our body: to protect the lungs from the particles that we inhale through the nose, such as dust, germs and pollen.

A stuffy and runny nose is a very common symptom of the common cold and flu.

Nevertheless, look at its colorIn addition to its consistency, it can help us decipher what health problem we are suffering from, as explained by the doctor Kristina Dudaa pediatrician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (United States), in an article published in Verywell Health.

The expert points out that “it is common for mucus to change from transparent to white, yellow or green during a single illness.” And it is that, “this progression is due to changes in the immune response as the days go by and what is mixed with the same mucus.”

Mucus is often treated with over-the-counter medications freepik

Although in most cases this color change only requires an over-the-counter medication (such as mucolytic syrups), “in others it may be a sign of a health problem that requires medical treatment.”

clear mucus

It is the most common. And it is made up of water, salt, proteins and antibodies.

The body produces clear mucus day and night to protect our nasal passages from all germs, bacteria and other components that surround us. As Dr. Duda points out, we produce an average of 1.5 liters of mucus daily.

  • It is common during the early stages of a common cold or an illness caused by viruses.

  • It is also a consequence of allergic rhinitis, which is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa and which usually generates the typical symptoms of a constipation, such as nasal itching, sneezing and runny nose.

  • Transparent mucus is very characteristic of non-allergic rhinitis, with sneezing and a stuffy nose, and which usually occurs in women at any stage of pregnancy.

It is rare for a watery nasal discharge to be a symptom of a cerebrospinal fluid leakwhich is the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and whose function is to cushion injuries.

If along with these symptoms, you have others such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or noise, headache or stiff neck, you should see a doctor immediately.

white mucus

Another of the most typical symptoms of colds. This whitish color is due to nasal congestion, and the subsequent inflammation of the nostrils, making it difficult to expel mucus, and when it does, the mucus is “thick”.

Another reason, says the specialist, is due to the presence of immune cells to fight the disease.

yellow mucus

It usually means that the disease is advancing and that there is a slight infection. The yellow mucus is expelled through coughing and/or sneezing.

Its hue is the result of “white blood cells and other cells of the immune system that fight the germs that have caused the disease.”

It is not always due to a cold or viral infection. It is also symptomatology typical of allergies, since allergens irritate the nasal passages, which can cause the production of yellow mucus.

Mucus is also a symptom of allergies freepik

Other types of mucus

Instead, there are some types of mucus that we should pay special attention to. This is the case of red snot, which may be caused by picking the nose, pregnancy, or some type of trauma, which requires urgent medical attention.

Black mucus is very rare, and is usually the result of a fungal infection (mycosis), which can “cause severe symptoms and even surgical intervention.” They are more common in immunosuppressed people.

On the other side of the coin, brown mucus, which is generated after inhaling dirt after a field day or hiking. “It is not usually the result of a disease,” clarifies Dr. Duda, who recommends monitoring if the symptoms persist beyond two weeks or if they disappear and reappear, since it could be a secondary infection. In this case, yes, it is advisable to consult with a doctor.

green mucus

It is nothing other than our body is “fighting a tough battle” against germs and viruses.

The largest amount of white blood cells, as well as other substances, are responsible for dyeing mucus this color.

It’s apparently not an immediate cause for concern, but if symptoms continue after 12 days, “you could have a bacterial infection and need a prescription for antibiotics.”

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