How To Be Good To Your Nose And Sinuses
If you have recurring or continuing uncomfortable symptoms, the first and easiest thing you can do for nasal health is wash out your nose using sterile saline. Like any other problem with the body, keep it clean and it will work better, Shikowitz says. Circulate the saline through your nostrils to wash out thick secretions so your nose will be cleaner, function better, and less prone to infections.
Air conditioning and indoor heating systems can also be very drying, and the nose does not work well when it’s really dry. So if you suffer from nasal conditions, Shikowitz advises the use of a humidifier in the bedroom.
So What Can You Do To Help Make Kids Feel Better As I Always Say: Water Water Water
Increase fluids that kids drink. Really push water. And unless a child is allergic to milk, it is an old wives tale that milk will make the mucus worse. If thats what they want, they can have milk with a cold. What really needs to happen is to get the mucus out. Using saline along with a strong blowing of the nose is important. Other treatment tactics may include: warm steam inhalation or a humidifier to help clear mucus. Additionally, over-the-counter cold and cough medications can help to clear out congestion. Infants and younger children may struggle to blow forcefully enough to get the mucus out. I recommend nasal aspirators that seal outside the nose and have a continuous flow of air. Check out How to use the Nosefrida. A similar nasal cleaner is available from Nasopure.
Is It Allergies Or A Cold
Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between allergies and the common cold. There are more than a hundred strains of cold viruses. Each tends to become widespread at certain times of the year, which is why you may mistake a cold for a seasonal allergy. Allergies occur at the same time every year and last as long as the allergen is in the air . Allergies cause itching of the nose and eyes along with other nasal symptoms. Colds last about one week and have less itching of the nose and eyes.
Recommended Reading: Allergic Reaction To Antihistamine Tablets
Green Or Dark Yellow Phlegm
A thick and dark yellow phlegm may be a sign of a viral or bacterial infection, sinus infection, or lower respiratory tract infection. Typically, this occurs when the immune system sends white blood cells, known as neutrophils, to the area of infection. These cells contain a green protein, which, when present in large quantities, turn the mucus into a greenish hue.
A 2011 study published in the European Respiratory Journal, however, found that green or yellow phlegm does not always signify an infection. After some tests, researchers found only 59 of every 100 samples of green phlegm contained bacteria while only 46 out of every 100 samples of yellow phlegm contained bacteria. Contrary to popular belief, having greenish mucus does not necessarily mean you have a bacterial infection, Exline said.
Allergic Mucus Is Thin And Theres Usually A Lot Of It
Different medical conditions result in different consistency and color of the mucus. When people have inhalant allergies, e.g., dust, mold, pollen, the consistency of the mucus produced is usually copious, thin, and watery.
Many people with allergic rhinitis, for example, walk around carrying Kleenex and, when exposed to their inciting allergen, they usually have related symptoms such as stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery, red or swollen eyes chronic throat-clearing is not typically a symptom of allergy.
Most people with allergic rhinitis have attacks when they come in contact with their offending allergens some people have more chronic symptoms, particularly those who are in constant contact with the offender however, many people who have constant allergic symptoms actually may have respiratory reflux. When patients with allergic rhinitis are examined by a knowledgeable physician, the usual findings are boggy, swollen, purplish nasal lining with a thin, clear-as-glass type of mucus.
People with allergic rhinitis can be successfully treated with antihistamine medications and steroid inhalers. That being said, the steroid inhalers must be used twice a day for an extended period of time before any benefit is realized. So its not relief immediately following a spray.
Don’t Miss: Green Phlegm Allergies
Why Am I Making So Much Mucus
Even when you’re healthy, your body is a mucus-making machine, churning out about 1 to 1.5 liters of the stuff every day. Most of that mucus trickles down your throat and you don’t even notice it.
However, there are times when you do notice your mucus — usually not because you’re producing more of it, but because its consistency has changed.
“Typically, the mucus changes character. It gets thicker,” Johns says. “When it has mass effect you feel it, and when you feel it, you want to hock.” Some people just naturally have thicker, stickier mucus than others.
It generally takes a bad cold, allergy, or contact with something irritating — like a plate of nuclear-hot Buffalo wings — to throw your body’s mucus production into overdrive.
For instance, during an allergic response to an offending trigger, such as pollen or ragweed, mast cells in your body squeeze out a substance called histamine, which triggers sneezing, itching, and nasal stuffiness. The tissue of the mucus membranes starts leaking fluid, and your nose begins to run.
Drinking milk may also make some people produce more mucus. Kao says that’s due to gustatory rhinitis, a reflex reaction that’s triggered by eating. Gustatory rhinitis is also why your nose runs when you eat hot peppers. Milk proteins cause the same type of response in some people. But although you may feel like you have more phlegm, you’re not going to worsen a cold by drinking a glass of milk, Johns says.
Possible Causes Of Coughing Up Yellow Mucus
1. Cold or Flu
A common symptom of a cold or flu is coughing up clear or pale yellow colored mucus. Cold and flu are very common causes of a phlegmy cough if there are no other significant symptoms.
Bronchitis is an infection which causes irritation and inflammation in the main airways of the lungs . Bronchitis can be caused by both bacterial and viral infections. One of the symptoms is coughing up yellow mucus. Other symptoms include a sore throat and fever. A natural remedy that can help relieve bronchitis symptoms is the inhalation of warm and steamy air that has been infused with drops of eucalyptus oil.
Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs. The infection can affect one or both lungs and can cause the air sacs to fill with pus or fluid, which leads to a cough with pus or phlegm. Pneumonia can also be accompanied with difficulty breathing, a fever and/or chills.
4. Sinus Infection
Sinuses, which are normally filled with air, can become blocked with stagnant mucus and filled with fluid. This may create a breeding ground for bacteria and cause a sinus infection which leads to colored phlegm. To help ease the symptoms of sinus infection, drink plenty of water and try nasal irrigation.
7. Lung Cancer
Don’t Miss: Loratadine Skin Allergy
Why Does My Doctor Give Me Antibiotics For Green Mucus
Good question! If most sinus infections are viral, and viral infections will not improve with antibiotics, it makes little sense to treat every episode of thick, green mucus with antibiotics. Yet some patients request it and many doctors continue to prescribe them. Its likely that the improvement that follows antibiotic treatment would have happened even without antibiotics yet that sequence of events tends to perpetuate the idea that antibiotics are necessary.
There are times when antibiotics should be considered. For example, antibiotics might be worth considering when
- the infection drags on for more than 10 days, or if it gets worse after a week
- the discharge is thick and uniformly white
- there is a high fever that isnt improving
- there are severe symptoms that do not respond to the usual over-the-counter sinus and cold remedies.
Each case is different. So, talk to your doctor if your sinus symptoms have you thinking you may need antibiotics.
What Is Mucus Anyway
It lines the nose as well as other organs,2 acting as a guard against bad stuff that might enter the body, such as dirt and germs. It is made of water, cells, salts, and mucin, which is a glycoprotein.
It goes by different names depending on its location in the body. Here are some terms you may hear, all referring to mucus found in the upper respiratory system:
- Snotthe stuff coming from the nose.
- Phlegmthe stuff in your throat and anything that you might cough up.
- Sputuma coughed-up mixture of mucus and saliva.
- Postnasal dripthe stuff that flows from the nasal cavity down the throat.
Recommended Reading: Hydrochloride Allergy Medicine
What If The Snot Texture Changes
The actual texture of your snot has a lot to do with its moisture content. Nasal mucus that flows freely has more water content than snot that is hard. In some cases, drinking more water may help thin your mucus. Changes in texture can happen throughout the duration of an illness.
Watery discharge from the nose may be a warning sign of a cerebrospinal fluid leak. A leak happens when theres a tear in the membranes surrounding your brain, likely from injury or certain medical conditions, like hydrocephalus.
Other symptoms of a CSF leak include:
- sensitivity to light or sound
- positional headaches for example, you may feel more pain while sitting up versus lying down
If you suspect you may have a CSF leak, seek medical attention.
Signs And Symptoms Of Sinusitis
The signs and symptoms of sinusitis vary depending on the severity of the inflammation and which sinuses are involved. Symptoms and signs of sinusitis are:
- Thick, green or yellow coloured mucus from the nose or down the back of the throat.
- Loss of sense of smell or taste.
- Bad breath and/or bad taste in the mouth.
- Sore throat and/or cough.
It is important to consult your doctor if these signs or symptoms develop.
Don’t Miss: Latex Allergy Foods List
Sinusitis Can Be Acute Or Chronic
There are two types of sinusitis:
- Acute sinusitis can last for up to three weeks, and is caused by bacterial infection in most cases. This usually occurs as a secondary complication of a viral respiratory infection such as the common cold, or as a result of untreated allergies.
- Chronic sinusitis can last more than three weeks. This may be caused by bacterial infection, or more often, it is a chronic inflammatory disorder similar to bronchial asthma. Chronic sinusitis can last for months or years if not treated. Allergies, structural problems or immune system problems may lead to chronic sinusitis.
What Does Black Snot Mean
Black snot might be a sign of a potentially serious fungal infection. There are a few different types of fungal infections that could affect the sinuses, which would require medication or at times, surgery, to heal. While more serious, these types of infection are incredibly rare, and tend to affect people who have certain conditions, such as diabetes or weakened immune systems.
Other, more common causes of black snot include the use of illicit drugs or smoking. Old, dried blood can also appear black. Additionally, living in a polluted city can impact the color of the mucus, presenting another common culprit of gray or black snot, but this wouldnt require a trip to the doctor.
Read Also: Loratadine Allergic Reactions
Is It Allergies Or Covid 4 Ways To Tell
Millions of Americans experience seasonal allergies. In the fall, ragweed pollen is often the culprit. Mold is also a typical trigger for autumn allergies.
Here’s why: Rotting leaves provide an excellent home for mold. This fungi thrives in moist, damp environments, and the tiny spores it releases into the air can cause nasal congestion, runny noses, sneezing, and watery, itchy eyes that people with allergies often experience.
And with COVID still spreading in our communities, it can be difficult to tell the difference between typical allergy symptoms and something more serious.
If you have a known history of allergies, consider this: If you do not have a fever, try a stepwise approach with using your usual treatments, such as long-acting antihistamines or nasal sprays, Rajani said.
Cold Or Allergy Relief Starts With An Accurate Diagnosis
This post is available in: Spanish
Spring is the time of year many people tend to develop symptoms of seasonal allergies itchy, watery eyes runny nose sneezing sore throat, and congestion. But how do you know if your symptoms are being caused by allergies or by, say, a cold virus? And when should you seek care for your allergies?
Exposure to pollen can trigger allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, when your bodys immune system mistakenly identifies the microscopic grains of pollen as a threat and responds by releasing chemicals that can cause cold-like symptoms.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention , symptoms of allergic rhinitis can occur during certain seasons or year-round, depending on the allergen, and affect as many as 60 million U.S. adults a year.
People with respiratory illnesses like asthma may be more sensitive to pollen, the CDC notes, and exposure to pollen has also been linked to asthma attacks and increases in hospital admissions for respiratory illness.
Is it a cold or an allergy?
Pollen exposure can also trigger symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis an inflammation of the lining of the eye, or conjunctiva, which, according to Dr. Acquino, is what produces the red, watery, itchy eyes common with allergies. The CDC estimates that allergic conjunctivitis is found in up to 30 percent of the general population and as many as 70 percent of patients with allergic rhinitis.
Recommended Reading: Clairitin
Treating What Causes Mucus
Getting rid of snot means treating the underlying cause of your runny nose. A cold virus usually takes a few days to run its course. If you have a runny nose that lasts for at least 10 days, even if the snot is clear, see a doctor.
Allergies are often a temporary problem, like a pollen bloom that keeps the allergens in the air for several days. If you know the source of your snot is an allergy, an over-the-counter antihistamine may be enough to dry out your nose. Antihistamines may cause side effects in some people, such as:
- dry mouth or nose
If you have questions or youre unsure how an antihistamine might interact with other medications you take, talk with your doctor or a pharmacist.
Prescription and over-the-counter decongestants may help you get through a cold. However, these drugs can have an effect in the body similar to that of a shot of adrenaline. They can make you jittery and cause a loss of appetite. Read the ingredient list and the warnings before taking any medication, including a decongestant.
What Does Yellow Snot Mean
Yellow mucus is a sign that whatever virus or infection you have is taking hold. The good news? Your body is fighting back. The yellow color comes from the cells white blood cells, for example rushing to kill the offending germs. Once the cells have done their work, theyre discarded in your snot and tinge it a yellowish-brown.
Your illness may last anywhere from 10 to 14 days, but keep an eye on your nasal discharge.
You May Like: Is Twix Peanut Free
Coughing Up Clear Mucus Is It A Sign Of An Allergy
If youre coughing up clear mucus, you may be wondering what the lack of color in the substance being coughed up means. Coughing up mucus in general means that the body is responding to some sort of foreign invader that it is trying to remove. It can also be attributed to the buildup of mucus in the throat, according to PrimeHealthChannel.com, which also explains that its this throat accumulation of phlegm that causes the cough by producing irritation in the throat.
Some people think that coughing up clear mucus is a direct result of problems within the throat, since this is where the discomfort originates from. However, while a throat infection can in some cases cause clear mucus, its normally a result of other issues, not necessarily a throat infection. For instance, GERD can lead to a sore throat that can mimic the symptoms of an infection in the throat. And, GERD can also create colorless mucus that is coughed up as well. Because of the phlegm present, its not uncommon for the gastrointestinal disorder to be miscategorized as an infection when none exists.
Such is that case therefore that not all throat mucus is caused by problems with the throat. Though bacterial and viral infections of the throat are not uncommon this simply doesnt mean that the throat is the source of it. The throat merely serves as the means through which mucus in general is expelled via expectoration, which just means coughing.
What Mucus Does For You
Mucus isnt stationary. In fact, mucus is always on the move around your body, in a predetermined pattern. It begins in the sinuses and then travels into your nose, down the back of the nose and throat, and then ends in the stomach.
Dr. Sindwani says if mucus did stay in one place, the bacteria within itcould cause infections.
Mucus traps bacteria, he notes, but then it gets pushed away into your stomach. The bacteria can be taken care of there, so it doesnt infect you or harm you in any way. If mucus were to sit around and be stagnant, the bacteria that are in it would continue to proliferate, because mucus is kind of a food for them. This overgrowth of bacteria could then get into your nasal and sinus tissues and cause an infection.
In addition to keeping potential infections at bay, mucus helps your nose function properly. For example, mucus traps chemicals called odorants, which represent different smells, and directs them to your smell receptors which live high up in the nose. That keeps your sense of smell in tip-top shape.
The nose also humidifies and warms the air we breathe with the help of mucus. Mucus mainly adds water or humidification to the air we breathe, so it doesnt dry out our passages or lungs, says Dr. Sindwani.
Recommended Reading: Are Twix Peanut Free