What If The Phlegm Texture Changes
The consistency of your phlegm can change due to many of reasons. The scale ranges from mucoid to mucopurulent to purulent . Your phlegm may get thicker and darker as an infection progresses. It may also be thicker in the morning or if you are dehydrated.
Clear phlegm thats associated with allergies is generally not as thick or sticky as the green sputum you see with bacterial bronchitis or the black phlegm from a fungal infection.
How Can I Get Rid Of Mucus
People with chronic sinus problems who are constantly blowing their noses understandably want the goo gone. Over-the-counter antihistamines and are one way to do this. Decongestants cause the blood vessels in the lining of the nose to narrow, reducing blood flow to the area, so you’re less congested and you produce less mucus.
Decongestants are fine for when you can’t breathe due to a cold, but they’re not so good for thick mucus in general. “The reason is the decongestants dry you up and they make the mucus thick, and often the opposite effect happens because you feel like you have thick mucus,” Johns explains. So you take more decongestants and get into a vicious mucus-producing cycle. Decongestants also have side effects, which include dizziness, nervousness, and high blood pressure.
Antihistamines block or limit the action of histamines, those substances triggered by allergic reactions that cause the tissue in the nose to swell up and release more, thinner mucus . The main side effect of older antihistamines is drowsiness. They also can cause dry mouth, dizziness, and headache.
You can also thin out the mucus with guaifenesin, a type of medicine called an expectorant. Thinner mucus is easier to get out of the body. Possible side effects of guaifenesin are dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
What Your Snot Can Tell You About Your Health
Whether you call it mucus, boogers, snot or, our favorite, a snot rocket, here’s one thing you should know: That gooey, sticky, slimy material inside your nose is key to keeping you healthy.
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In fact, think of it as your body’s own natural moisturizer.
“Mucus is an important substance that the body produces to protect itself from foreign substances like viruses and bacteria,” explains Philip Chen, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology/rhinology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
“It protects the body in two ways,” he says. “The first is as a physical barrier: Mucus is sticky and traps foreign particles, which the body can then sweep away like a broom. The second way is through its antimicrobial properties, as it is a water-based, sticky substance made of components like enzymes and antibodies that fight infection.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that your nose produces on average a quart of snot every single day. “Much of it is swallowed and we don’t even know it,” Dr. Chen says.
But during allergy season, or when you’re battling a respiratory infection, it can seem like that mucus is clogging up your nose, leaving you stuffy, constantly blowing your nose and just generally feeling crummy. But again, this is a good thing.
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How Long Will The Phlegm Last
The duration of the phlegm in your system depends on the cause.
- For bacterial infections, even without antibiotics, it can be self-limiting and will go away in 10 to 14 days.
- Viral infections can last a little longer, so sometimes up to three weeks depending on the season.
- Inflammatory conditions like asthma and COPD typically dont necessarily get better unless the disease is treated more aggressively.
Remember, your body is doing its job when phlegm is being produced. It shows that its addressing some sort of assault, be it an infection or an allergy or an irritant thats in your lungs or your sinuses thats how your body fights those assaults.
Dr. Jonathan Parsons is the associate director of clinical services and director of the asthma center in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
What Does Pink Or Red
Coughing up pink or red-colored mucus usually means that there is some blood mixed in with the mucus.
Any health condition that results in chronic coughing can damage and irritate your airways, resulting in pink-tinged mucus. Sometimes the mucus could be pink or red depending on the amount of blood in the mucus. You could cough up blood-streaked mucus when you have pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, or sinusitis.
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Clear And Watery: Allergies Or Nonallergic Rhinitis
“Clear drainage tends to be associated with early onset of a cold, seasonal allergies or nonallergic rhinitis,” says Dr. Barnes. “If it’s allergies, that tends to be accompanied by itchiness, watery eyes and sneezing.”
Nonallergic rhinitis is a drippy nose that could have several causes. “Nonallergic rhinitis could be related to your work exposure, like from irritants,” says Dr. Barnes. Another cause of nonallergic rhinitis could be hormone shifts. “As we age, the hormone changes after menopause can affect the moisture of the nose,” explains Dr. Barnes. The stereotype of a little old lady with a runny nose would fit into the category of nonallergic rhinitis.
But clear drippy drainage out of just one nostril could signal a serious condition called cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea. “That raises the alarm for anyone who has experienced head trauma, for example after a car accident or skull fracture,” says Dr. Barnes. If only one nostril is gushing watery discharge, seek medical attention right away.
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What Kind Of Congestion Is It
- A runny or stuffy nose with thin, clear fluid, accompanied by sneezing are common symptoms of a cold.
- A clear runny or stuffy nose and sneezing can also be seen in environmental allergies, which often also cause an itchy nose and itchy, watery, red or swollen eyes.
- Thick, green nasal discharge and a cough are typically signs of a cold or other infection such as sinusitis.
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What Color Is Your Phlegm
Watch this quick video to find out what the color of your phlegm could be telling you.
0:00 Introduction: What is phlegm?
0:28 What color is your phlegm?
1:27 The best remedies for phlegm
1:55 Share your success story!
In this video, were going to talk about what the color of your phlegm can potentially tell you.
What is phlegm? Phlegm is mucus produced by the respiratory system. This is typically from the lungs, not your sinuses.
When you cough up your phlegm, this is called sputum.
Your body produces around one liter of phlegm each day. When you have an infection, it can be much more than one liter.
What color is your phlegm? Take a look at what your phlegm color can potentially say.
White/clear: Allergies or asthma
Brown Or Orange Mucus:
Your mucus might turn red, pink, orange, or even brown if youve had a nosebleed or if youve been blowing your nose a lot. Pregnant women also sometimes have red or pink mucus because of changing hormones, but in the vast majority of cases, its just a sign that the nose is too dry.
When you blow your nose too hard, you risk tearing the membranes covering the inside of the nose. When these membranes dry out, which they often do in winter anyway, theyll bleed into the mucus. If you notice mucus with a red tint, theres no need to call the ENT in Amherst. Unless theres a lot of blood, a bowl of soup and a hot shower will do the trick.
Black: External Irritants Like Smoke Or Pollution
Black drainage is pretty uncommon, but it can happen. “I’ve had patients who had dark drainage after spending a lot of time outside when there were a lot of fires,” recalls Dr. Barnes. “Also, if you live in or travel to a city with a lot of pollution, you might also experience discolored, brown drainage.”
Sniffle Detective: 5 Ways To Tell Colds From Allergies
ByCari Nierenbergpublished 4 June 14
Seasonal allergies and colds share some common symptoms, so it may be hard to tell the two apart.
Both conditions typically involve sneezing, a runny nose and congestion. There are some differences, though. Additionally, colds usually include coughing and a sore throat, but these symptoms can also occur in people with hay fever who have post-nasal drip. Itchy eyes are common for seasonal allergies, but rare for colds.
“Colds and seasonal allergies seem very similar in many ways,” said Dr. Rima Rachid, director of allergen immunotherapy at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s the duration and chronicity of symptoms that might help tell the difference,” she explained.
It’s not unusual for parents and even doctors to confuse cold and seasonal allergy symptoms, Rachid told Live Science.
Young children frequently get colds, and their parents may not always think of seasonal allergies as the reason for kids’ constantly drippy noses. Seasonal allergies may first show up in a child at around ages 4 to 6, but they can also begin at any age after that, Rachid said.
And genetics play a role: People with one parent who has any type of allergy have a 1 in 3 chance of developing an allergy, Rachid said. When both parents have allergies, their children have a 7 in 10 chance of developing allergies, too.
Here are five signs to look for to determine whether symptoms are due to seasonal allergies or a cold.
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What You Can Do At Home
To control or loosen mucus at home, you can try the following remedies:
Humidify. Try a cool mist humidifier or hop into a steamy shower to keep your airways moisturized.
Try a teaspoon of honey. Though honey doesnt get rid of mucus, it can calm your cough temporarily.
Check air filters. Other irritants in the air can make mucus production worse, so make sure your heating and cooling system filters are clean and up to date.
When To Call Your Primary Care Provider
If your child is 3 months old or younger, call your primary care provider whenever your child has nasal or chest congestion.
If your child is more than 4 months old, call your primary care provider if your child:
- Has had thick nasal discharge lasting more than 10 days
- Has a barking cough
- Coughs with exercise
- Has a wheezing cough
- Is coughing up thick greenish-yellow phlegm
- Has a fever that rises repeatedly to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Has a fever with temperature higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for more than three days
- Has ear pain
- Has swelling or dark circles around the eyes
- Is having trouble sleeping
- Has symptoms of allergies that are interfering with daily activities and you want to know if a specialist might be able to help
Seek emergency care if your child:
- Is having trouble breathing or is taking short, rapid breaths
- Has bluish lips or fingernails
Treatments are different depending on the cause of the congestion. Your childs primary care provider can tell you what steps to take to relieve symptoms and help your child get better.
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The Skinny On Snot: What Your Child’s Mucus Says About Their Health
Its kind of gross to talk about, but you can learn a lot from snot. While mucus may be a bit of an annoyance, it plays an important role in your childs body. Mucus lines organs with a protective layer, keeping dust and dirt out to help fight off infections. But not all mucus are the same. Different colors can mean fungal infection or other serious health issues. And mucus from allergies is different from that of the common cold. Pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner explains what the different colors of mucus coming out of your childs nose really mean, and when you should visit the doctor.
Colorless snot is normal. If your child is producing more than usual, they may have allergies or a mild cold. Stringy mucus is allergy mucus. Liquid-y mucus is viral mucus. If your child has whitish mucus, it also could be the start of a cold. If your child has white mucus for more than two weeks, is a teenager, develops sinus pain, fever, or other symptoms, they could be getting an infection.
When your child has yellow snot, it’s because the white blood cells are fighting off the infections. The good news is their body is doing what it should. The bad news: your child’s probably getting sick and it may clear on its own, but if not, your child needs to visit the doctor.
If your child has black snot, that’s a warning. Your child may have a serious fungal infection or other health issue and you need to take your child to the doctor right away.
Mayo Clinic Q And A: Nasal Mucus Color What Does It Mean
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My grandson frequently has a runny nose, and the color of the nasal mucus is sometimes green to yellowish. Ive heard that this is a sign of a bacterial infection and perhaps the need for antibiotics. Can you confirm?
ANSWER: Greenish-gray or yellowish nasal mucus your health care provider might call it purulent nasal discharge isnt a sure sign of a bacterial infection, although that is a common myth even in the medical world. Both viral and bacterial upper respiratory infections can cause similar changes to the type and coloration of nasal mucus.
During a common cold, nasal mucus may start out watery and clear, then become progressively thicker and more opaque, taking on a yellow or green tinge. This coloration is likely due to an increase in the number of certain immune system cells, or an increase in the enzymes these cells produce. Over the next few days, the discharge tends to clear up or dry up.
Viruses cause the vast majority of colds in both children and adults. Antibiotics do nothing against viruses regardless of whether green mucus is produced. However, the timing of symptoms may offer a clue as to the type of germs present. Thick, colored nasal mucus more often occurs at the beginning of a bacterial illness, rather than several days into it, as occurs with a viral infection. In addition, symptoms due to a bacterial infection often last more than 10 days without improvement.
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Know The Difference Between Symptoms Of Allergies Cold Flu And Coronavirus Disease 2019
You wake up with a headache and cough. Your social media feed is filled with news about the coronavirus disease 2019 . And its allergy season.
So whats making you feel bad? Just because you are under the weather doesnt mean you have COVID-19it could be allergies, a cold or the flu instead.
Read on to determine if its time to call your healthcare provider or just pull out your neti pot and allergy medications.
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Its important to pay attention to the color of bodily discharge. The color of your urine, feces, and mucus can tell you a lot about your health. Make sure youre paying attention to your body so that you spot infections at the very initial stages before they have time to progress into serious conditions.
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What Does The Color Of Your Snot Say About Your Health
As we enter cold and allergy season, a lot of us are going to be feeling a lot more nasally blocked up than usual. It may be gross, but a little bit of congestion isnt necessarily anything to worry about. However, depending on details including the severity of the blockage and the color of the mucus, it may be an indication that more serious factors are at play.
What Does Clear Phlegm Mean
Your body produces clear mucus and phlegm on a daily basis. It is mostly filled with water, protein, antibodies, and some dissolved salts to help lubricate and moisturize your respiratory system. An increase in clear phlegm may mean that your body is trying to flush out an irritant, like pollen, or some type of virus.
Clear phlegm is commonly caused by:
Allergic rhinitis: This is also called nasal allergy or sometimes hay fever. It makes your body produce more nasal mucus after exposure to allergens like pollen, grasses, and weeds. This mucus creates postnasal drip and may make you cough up clear phlegm.
Viral bronchitis: This is an inflammation in the bronchial tubes in your lungs. It begins with clear or white phlegm and coughing. In some cases, you may find that the phlegm progress to a yellow or green color.
Viral pneumonia: This form of pneumonia is caused by an infection in your lungs. Early symptoms include fever, dry cough, muscle pain, and other flu-like symptoms. You may also see an increase in clear phlegm.
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What Is Your Snot Telling You
Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, it seems like theres always a seasonal affliction that can affect your nasal cavity. If you think of your sinuses as a painters easel, then your mucus could be a range of colors. Those colors could signify whatand howyour body is using your snot to fight off sickness or responding to irritation.
First things first. If you got bopped on the nose and youre seeing red when you use a tissue, even a few days later, its likely still the result of the initial impact. If it has been several weeks, or even months and your snot is still tinged red or brown , then it would be a prudent decision to seek medical attention.