The colour of your mucus matters!

What secrets are stuck inside your snot?
In this season of colds and flus, just remember, that runny nose is working hard to protect you! (ID 168774816 © Satjawat Boontanataweepol |


There, now that we have your attention, we'd like to take a moment to talk about the serious side of snot.

Because as much as we hate to disappoint all of you pranksters out there, the mucus in your nose isn't just there for the purpose of grossing out other people. Instead, it is an important part of how our bodies function and even stay healthy!

Found not only in our nose and sinuses, but also our throat, lungs, stomach, and intestines, mucus acts as a lubricant (something that keeps an area moist and smooth). It is also a protective barrier against harmful microbes that could give us harmful infections. Like sticky flypaper catches an insect, mucus quite literally snags germs and prevents them from being absorbed into our body.

Thanks, boogers! (Hey, snot a problem, right?)

Colour coded

Of course, that doesn't mean that a stuffed, runny nose (as most of us will experience over the winter months at some point) is any fun to have. So to try and give mucus the respect it deserves, we thought that we would talk about what the colour of your snot says about how healthy you are.

Yep, the colour of your mucus changes depending on how your body and its immune system is doing. Kind of like a mood ring! (Oooor maybe not?)

Let's check out what the colours mean, shall we?

Clear: This one means it is smooth sailing right now in your body's immune system. No infections to report and your mucus is just happily protecting you!

White: This means that you're probably fighting off a bit of a minor irritation, such as congestion, nasal infection, or allergies. You may also be dehydrated (lacking water in your body), so your mucus is trying to balance things back out.

Yellow: This is likely a cold or infection. The yellow colour comes from dead white blood cells. (These are the soldiers in your immune system, so this is a sign that they've been doing some battles lately!)

Green: Your body is really fighting off an infection. The green colour comes from not only dead white blood cells, but other cellular matter as well. Though not a huge cause for concern, it might be a good idea to see your doctor if it keeps up for longer than a week. Never hurts to get checked out!

Pink/red: This colour comes from a little blood mixing with the mucus. Often this is just a matter of your nose being really dry, which makes the surface inside more delicate. This is really common in winter! Also, you have maybe been picking your nose recently and accidentally scratched inside it with your nail. Ouch! This is something to try to avoid. Your mucus is there to protect you!

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