You’re probably already aware that a runny nose is a symptom of many different conditions. But did you know that the color of your snot can provide a clue as to what the underlying problem is? We review what the different colors of your snot may mean below.
Clear snot is what is considered normal or healthy. Your body naturally produces about 1.5 liters of mucus per day, which is made up of water with proteins, antibodies and salts.
If you have clear snot but aren’t feeling well, you may be experiencing allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever. Symptoms are the result of contact with an allergen, such as pollen, pet dander or dust mites. Alternatively, you could be experiencing nonallergic rhinitis due to contact with an irritant.
You may have white snot if you’re feeling congested. This is usually a sign you’re starting to come down with the common cold. The reason your snot turns white is because it loses its water content.
Yellow snot means the virus you’re coming down with has likely taken hold. This color of snot means your body is fighting back, as white blood cells are rushing to kill the germs and are then discarded in your snot when their job is done.
Green snot means your immune system has kicked into high gear to fight an infection. The greenish hue comes from dead white blood cells and other waste.
Your snot may also be green if you have sinusitis. If your cold symptoms have persisted more than 12 days or if you have a fever and headache, it’s time to see a doctor.
Pink or Red
If you have pink or red in your snot, it likely means blood is present. This may be due to a nosebleed or trauma to the nose. It’s also common for people who are pregnant to experience bloody snot due to blood volume increases and hormone changes.
If you’re experiencing a bloody nose and have difficulty breathing, have bled more than 30 minutes or produce more than one tablespoon of blood, contact a doctor.
Black snot may be possible if you smoke or live with smokers. It may also be the sign of a serious fungal infection, though this is not common. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call South Valley Ear Nose & Throat today.