Snot may be disgusting, but it can tell you a lot about your health

No one would ever admit it, but we all get a secret pleasure out of staring at what comes out after we blow our noses.

Most of the time we just see the regular old boogers – sometimes hard and crusty, other times soft and sticky – but every now and again we’re treated to a few unexpected surprises.

Our snot normally comes out white or yellow, but on occasion it can come out different colours, and these colours can indicate to us whether or not we have an infection, as well as what kind of infection we might have.

READ MORE: Colour of your pee could be telling you it’s time to seek urgent medical attention

So the next time you’re feeling a little unwell and are reaching for a box of Kleenex, be sure to give that goo a gander and check what colour it is.

Here’s what the colour of your snot could mean according toPenn Medicine , a major multi-hospital health system headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


If your boogers are clear, it means you’ve got nothing to worry about. You’re fine. This is basically just mucus doing its job of keeping irritants out of your body, although too much of it could indicate an allergic reaction to something, such as dust or pollen.


White snot is a good sign that your body is working to eject a virus that has made its way into your sinuses efficiently. Again, nothing to cause concern. You just have to let your body get on with what it needs to do to keep you healthy.


If your snot is yellow, it’s a sign that you might have caught a cold and your body is working hard to clear the infection. The yellow colour is caused by dead white blood cells that have played their part in fighting the infection and are being flushed out through your nose.


Sometimes the dead white blood cells that come out through your nose can lean more towards green than they do yellow. That indicates that there are a lot of dead white blood cells in your snot, and that your body is actually fighting off a bacterial infection rather than a regular cold.


Your snot can turn red or pink if it becomes mixed with blood, most likely caused by broken tissue inside your nose. This can happen when you blow your nose too much or too hard, or simply by dry air.


When your snot comes out brown or orange, it might be time to start getting a little worried. That’s because it could be a sign of bronchitis, which is an infection of the main airways of the lungs (bronchi), causing them to become irritated and inflamed. Otherwise it could indicate that you’ve inhaled some kind of contaminant.


Snot can come out black after inhaling a lot of dust or smoke. This is very common in heavy smokers. But black mucus could also signify a fungal infection, but these cases are quite rare, and mainly occur in cancer patients with compromised immune systems due to chemotherapy.

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