Your nose is an antimicrobial fighting filtering machine. And its special secret weapon is mucus. Mucus traps and prevents bacteria and antigens from entering your lungs and body that cause infection, illness, and flu. As it fights off these unwanted germs, it changes color. And if you pay attention to the color, it will show you the pre-stage or stage of your child’s health. Also, you can possibly see other underlying health issues too.
There is no need to take a flashlight and look up your child’s nose. Instead, just check the tissue and see what color comes out.
Why Mucus Changes Color
Mucus is primarily made up of antibodies. When allergens, antigens, or irritants mix with mucus, it changes color. However, here are your classic mucus colors and stages.
Your nose should have transparent light mucus. This is healthy and normal. Your mucus functions to lubricate air as it enters the nose to reduce friction. If you have ever experienced a dry nose, you know how important mucus is when inhaling. However, as the amount of mucus increases and starts to run out of your nose, and if it becomes thicker, it means something triggered it. It could be pollen, dust, irritants, bacteria, or virus. The evolution of its color will tell you more.
White is an indicator of something starting like a sinus infection or flu. Usually, the mucus decreases in moisture first. And the lack of moisture causes it to be white and thick. Once the flu starts to advance, it changes to booger green.
Green is your classic flu infection color. However, green mucus can be caused by simple allergies to more severe conditions like sinus infection, bronchitis, upper respiratory infection, and pneumonia.
When germs attack, white blood cells are called up from the ranks. The green color happens because of the mucus isolating and trapping the bacteria in the nose. The lovely shade of green comes from the white blood cells because they secrete a specific substance used for more intense infections.
Once the virus or illness begins to lose the battle with your immune system, green turns into yellow. Yellow color mucus means a cold, flu, or illness is hanging on and not entirely killed off yet. The yellow color is caused by dead white blood cells that rushed in to save the day.
Pink or Red Mucus
Red and pink are signs of blood. But truthfully, there is no need for panic. Usually, it is from your child blowing their nose a lot and forcing out the mucus. When your child does this, the constant force from blowing their nose cracks the inside membrane lining. And when this happens, blood dries inside the nose. Don’t worry, it is normal. For example, when my daughter forces her mucus out of her nose, sometimes it has a pinkish tint. But when she is blowing her nose constantly, a lot of blood appears. And sometimes it is black. But have no fear; it is just dried-up blood.
No need to worry about black mucus. As I said, it is dried blood from constant forcing and blowing of the nose. However, just to complete the color chart, if black mucus does appear under normal circumstances, it predominately occurs in people who work in mines and factories or are heavy smokers.
But in some cases, black boogers can also indicate an infection from fungus, in which you should see a doctor.
Mucus seems to be a legit way to see if your child is under the weather or if a flu storm is approaching. What comes out of your body is a sign of what is happening inside. Therefore, the color of your mucus is a good indicator of virus, illness, or flu conditions.