Many of us have been struck with an unexpected sneeze and been caught without a tissue.And in that case we are faced with a dreaded thing; our own mucus.While most of us avoid examining our snot, it can actually reveal a lot about our health, doctors say.
An average person produces and swallows around 1.7 litres (1.5 quarts) of the stuff a day – enough to fill a kettle.
The mucus is made by the nose and continually travels through the sinuses, slipping down the back of the throat to the stomach. Its purpose is to keep the nasal passages wet – and add moisture to the dry air we breathe in. Made from water, proteins, antibodies and dissolved salts, it should be clear in a healthy person.
The Cleveland Clinic has done just that, with a helpful infographic about what the shade of your nasal mucus may mean for your health. Of course, if you are concerned about the color of your snot, it is always best to consult a doctor. There are several color ranges of phlegm which we list below, including:
The most common form of phlegm and generally the most harmless, as when produced by a cold, allergy or some kind of irritant, this is produced 24/7. If left to its own devices, this phlegm many times goes down the back of one’s throat and eventually down to the stomach where it’s dissolved.
2.White or gray
White or gray phlegm means that there is a respiratory infection present, a sinus congestion condition or that it’s simply caused by body tissue that has become inflamed eventually stopping the natural flow of mucus.
3. Yellow or green
In this case you can’t judge your mucus by its color. Contrary to popular belief, green mucus doesn’t necessarily signify a bacterial infection and yellow a virus. “The color change depends on how much mucus is in your nose as well as how much inflammation is present.” But both colors do indicate that you’re sick and your immune system is trying to fight back. The tinge is from a large quantity of white blood cells that arrived on the scene to help battle the bug. When they die, they leave behind a green-colored enzyme that tinges your mucus.
Typically found expulsed by smokers, a combination of tar, nicotine and resins accumulate in the bronchial and lung passages producing this colored sputum. Other possible causes of brown phlegm are acid reflux when you’ve been drinking red wine, chocolate or coffee. And also if your mucus is brown, you may have some bleeding in your nose, possibly from nasal polyps.
This pink phlegm may be an indicator of some pulmonary infection or that a nasal tissue or vessel has broken and formed a leak into the mucus.
Black mucus usually only shows up in people that smoke, but if you’re not a smoker or user of illegal drugs, it can be a sign of a major fungal infection. These types of infections typically occur in those with compromised immune systems, so contact your doctor immediately.
Natural Treatments In Case of Phlegm:
There are six things that you can do that’ll cost a lot less and do a lot more to help during a cold:
1- Drink plenty of sugar-free liquids such as hot chicken broth or soup and herbal teas to thin out the phlegm.
2- Hold off from dairy products as dairy tends to increase mucus. You may try almond or coconut milk instead.
3- Try adding eucalyptus oil to a pot of boiling hot water, then throwing a towel over your head as you lean over the pot inhaling deeply.
4- Adding a teaspoon of turmeric or ginger to half a glass of hot water with lemon zest and lemon juice can help. Both spices contain antiseptic properties that fight infections.
Below are six things that you can do that’ll cost a lot less and do a lot more to help during a cold:
5- Eat spicy hot food such as hot chili peppers to loosen up the mucus. You can also try a combination of raw garlic boiled with chicken broth and let stand for several minutes.
6- Get plenty of sun, about 10 minutes a day or more. Also, take plenty of Vitamin D as studies indicate a correlation between low levels of Vitamin D and respiratory infections.