Mucus tells us a lot more than to just grab a tissue! In fact, the color of our mucus gives us huge insight into the severity of the infection we’re dealing with.
When you hear the word “mucus,” we can imagine one thought pops into your head before all others:
And, we can’t blame you! On the surface, there’s not much to like about this sloppy secretion. The mere mention of it is enough to make your stomach turn.
However, while many of us may dismiss our phlegm-y friend, it actually has a far more use than we often give it credit for.
Mucus is actually a key part of our body’s defense system; a potent weapon that we use to attack threats to our sinuses.
This weapon works in a 3-step process:
When you have a sinus infection, the infection isn’t actually in the lining of your sinus; it’s in the mucus within your sinus!
This has bred the “old wive’s tale” that we can identify whether an infection is viral or bacterial by simply looking at the color of our mucus. Is there any truth to this?
The short answer is “no.” There isn’t an exact correlation between mucus color and the type of infection we have.
HOWEVER! Mucus color does tell us something different about our sinus infection… how serious it is.
That’s what we’re going to explain to you now.
Mucus color changes based on which white blood cells are being sent to deal with the infection that is caught in it, and what chemicals those white blood cells release upon arrival.
We assume severity based on which white blood cells our body is deploying.
We’ll walk you through each mucus color as it relates to infection severity, from lowest to highest.
Before we do that, we want to draw your attention to one particular outlier of this group.
When we say “black,” we do mean really “black.” If you are someone who works in a congested metropolitan area, exposed to lots of dirt and dust, your mucus may get a little darker, but that’s not what we are referring to here.
If your mucus is black, we suggest you seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
It’s possible that you could have a serious fungal infection, and if so, need far more assistance than traditional supplements can provide.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s explore the other colors!
Yeah, yeah, we know. “Clear” isn’t a color.
But it’s where we’re starting because it’s the baseline of your mucus when it isn’t fighting off any foes.
If it’s clear, you’re likely good to go!... Unless it’s runny.
Mucus should be thick and gummy. If your nose won’t stop running, it’s likely due to inflammation and excess mucus production. More often than not, this is due to mild colds or allergic reactions rather than serious infection.
If your mucus turns white, your immune system is in the initial stages of identifying a potential threat.
It sends in dendritic cells, which are immune cells with really long finger-like projections! Their job is to grab a piece of the potential threat and take it back to a lymph node for inspection. Essentially, they say: “Hey! Look what I found. We should do something about this!”
Our immune system then starts sending in macrophages, and they are what make the mucus thicker and white. Think of this step as your immune system rallying the troops.
Just like a traffic light, yellow sits smack-dab in the middle of our color progression.
If our mucus turns yellow, it means the infection is progressing, and our immune system is sending more back up to the sinus.
It sends more macrophages and other varieties of killer cells. At this point the threat is no longer “potential,” but “clear and present.”
We normally associate green with “good,” but here the opposite is true.
If your mucus turns green, it means your immune system has decided that the infection has grown to such a point that it starts sending in “the big guns.”
These are called neutrophils, and it is the enzymes they release that turn your mucus green.
It is likely if neutrophils are present that they are hunting bacteria that has grown in your infected mucus.
To make it as clear as possible:
If your mucus stays white, it’s possible your body believes it has the infection under control for the most part.
If your mucus progresses to green, it’s possible you could have an acute bacterial infection.
Recognizing the right sinus support for you starts with answering this question:
“Do I want to dry mucus up, or do I want to push it out?”
This all-natural formula helps you:
This all-natural formula helps you: