What the Color of Your Snot Really Means

Decoding the various possible hues can tell you a lot about your health.

By Family Health Team/Cleveland Clinic

Nasal mucus alone isn’t typically used to diagnose disease, but it can be a helpful tool to determine what’s happening in your nasal passages. Here’s a quick look at just a few of the things the various possible shades of snot might mean for your health. A special thank you goes out to otolaryngologist Raj Sindwani, MD, Cleveland Clinic Head & Neck Institute, who checked our facts (and kept our noses clean).

mucus infographic

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We are all adults here--or, at least, of age-- and making the title more hoity-toity won't change what it is. In fact, it's what lured me in to read the article, which I appreciate very much. I membranes are easily irritated-perfumes, cigarette smoke and odor, body odor, cat dander... I am a peeker, and I have been taught to notice the color of "nasal matter" (is that better?) as it will act as an alert to potential conditions.

BABADU on 2015-01-03 21:18:26

I would really like to know how fast the membranes can create this mucous? 1.5 quarts a day is a lot, but there are days when it feels like I create that much in an hour, or after a sneezing session in about 10 minutes. I have often wondered how that much can exist in my tiny head. We are talking at least half a cup in less than ten minutes. I feel like a freaking snot factory. Any answers?

dgould497@aol.com on 2015-01-01 20:13:55

Word Origin and History for snot
late 14c., from Old English gesnot "nasal mucus," from Proto-Germanic *snuttan (cf. Old Frisian snotta, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch snotte, Middle Low German snute), from the same base as snout. Old English also had a verb snite "wipe or pick one's nose." Meaning "despicable person" is from 1809.
snot in Medicine

snot (sn?t)
Nasal mucus; phlegm.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002

geiergirl4@hotmail.com on 2015-01-01 18:30:13

Really Robinleigh? Get off your high horse....what exactly would YOU call it? Good article ... no matter what the title of the subject is.

Himalayanlover on 2015-01-01 18:07:40

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