What to Know About Snot: Adult Guide

Have you ever wondered about all the weird and wild excretions produced by your body and what they say about your body? Or were you unaware that your snot could tell you about your health? Either way, this is the guide for you.

snot guide 300x225 What to Know About Snot: Adult Guide Photo

Next time you’re caught picking your nose, just say you’re assessing your health by examining your snot.

Mucus is an adhesive, gel-like substance produced by the mucous membrane for the purpose of lubricating the lining of the digestive and respiratory tracts. The discharge in the nasal passages is often colloquially referred to as snot, while the mucus produced by the upper and lower respiratory system is known as phlegm. Mucus can also be found in diarrhea. Here’s what to look for in your mucus, and what it says about your body:

Nasal Mucus (Snot)
Both runny and congested noses are caused by excessive mucus being produced to push foreign invaders out of the passages. These foreign substances can either be allergens or viral, bacterial, or fungal infections. A viral infection is what causes the common cold while a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection could cause sinusitis, bronchitis, or pneumonia – all more serious infections that can affect the respiratory system and cause phlegm production. Nasal mucus that is clear in color represents a very mild infection or allergy. If your snot is light to dark green in color, it indicates that a stronger infection is present in your body and should be treated by a doctor.

Phlegm is the mucus-containing substance produced by the respiratory system in response to irritants like allergens, viruses, bacteria, environmental toxins, and pollution. Unlike nasal mucus, phlegm is a stronger indicator of disease and is  often made up of bacteria, debris, and sloughed-off inflammatory cells. Like nasal mucus, phlegm is also essential in expelling foreign irritants. It lubricates the respiratory organs and passageways in order to facilitate the coughing up of sputum (what phlegm is called when it’s been coughed up).

Clear sputum is usually a sign of a mild viral infection or allergy. Yellow or cloudy sputum is a sign of a bacterial infection. Dark yellow or green sputum indicates the presence of pus or dead white cells, meaning that the body is working to fight off a bacterial infection. Brown sputum, typically coughed up by smokers in the morning, is a sign of the irritation to the passageways caused by cigarette smoke. Bloody phlegm could be a sign of  bleeding in the lungs associated with pneumonia or tuberculosis.

Diarrhea with Mucus
Diarrhea with mucus can be a sign of an inflammatory condition like Crohn’s Disease, or food allergies, food poisoning, or an infection of the digestive tract. Serious or persistent diarrhea requires medical treatment by a doctor.

Have you ever been tipped off to a condition requiring medical care based on the color of your mucus?

Sources: healtharticles101.com, localhealth.com, and wikipedia.org