Nasal secretions

The nasal secretion is not always clear, it can be yellow or green or have a pink, orange or brownish color.

Mucus is a secretion of the mucosa, which can originate from the following organs:

  • Nostrils
  • Ears
  • Mouth
  • Genital
  • Anus.

The main objective is to protect the organism from harmful microorganisms.

Formation of nasal mucus

Mucus is a substance formed from:

  • Muzipar goblet cells,
  • Sero-mucosal glands.

Mucus is formed from Glycoproteins, water, mineral salts and fats.

In the mucus one also finds:

  • Antibodies that help recognize viruses and bacteria,
  • enzymes to eliminate invaders,
  • proteins that make mucus sticky and fibrous,
  • Other cells.

Mucus usually drains the throat.

A person is not aware of this substance, because it exists only in small quantities.

Inflammation of the nose produces a larger amount of mucus, which is:

  • Viscous
  • Bright yellow.

Mucus can flow from the anterior or posterior nasal cavity.

Function of nasal mucus

Mucus retains dust particles and other materials that are in the air and blocks them.

The cilia of the airway epithelium push the mucus to the throat, where it is swallowed.

In the nose, production continues, creating more and more new and clean mucus.

The cilia are also present in the trachea, in which case they push the mucus to the throat (i.e. in the opposite direction than the cilia in the nose) in order to be swallowed.


Colors of mucus

Knowledge of mucus color is very important because it can be used as a diagnostic tool. It gives important indications of a disease.

Clear and transparent mucus: Clear and watery (liquid) mucus is said to be normal and healthy. It indicates that the sinuses are healthy and functioning correctly. Sometimes a person produces large amounts of clear and watery mucus when the nose runs due to an allergy or irritation.

White viscous mucus: White or cloudy mucus indicates disability or mucus blockage. If clear mucus remains trapped in a sinus, it becomes tough and dry. When the mucus dries, it becomes white or cloudy.

Sometimes this indicates a gastrointestinal problem and looks like you drank milk.

Other causes include:

  • viral bronchitis,
  • bacterial infection,
  • allergic reaction,
  • Climate change
  • Gastroesophageal reflux.

Green mucus: Green mucus represents a serious bacterial infection that can be purulent.

To fight this infection, the body sends out white blood cells.

These blood cells contain a green-colored enzyme.

If many white blood cells are present, green mucus forms.

Green mucus may indicate that:

  • An allergic reaction,
  • An infection of the lungs,
  • A postnasal drip syndrome,
  • A sinus infection.

Pink/reddish mucus: Red mucus means that it is mixed with blood due to some injuries to the lining of the nose.

The nasal mucosa is rich in superficial and sensitive capillaries.

Pink mucus can be caused by some streaks or traces of blood (a minimal amount) in the mucus, but it also indicates diseases in the nasal area, for example:

  • varices in the nasal septum,
  • Sinusitis
  • Cold
  • Injuries to the nasal capillaries caused by blowing.

Brown mucus: Brown mucus may indicate dried blood that has remained in the nose and sinuses. In most cases, however, it occurs when breathing in an environment enriched with:

  • Smoke
  • Dust
  • atmospheric impurities.

Some medications and chronic bronchitis can cause the production of brown mucus.

Black mucus: Black mucus is considered a serious change and is often caused by sinus infections caused by fungi and mold.

Black threads in the mucus can be the result of:

  • atmospheric contamination such as in people working in mines or inhaling coal dust, graphite and beryllium,
  • Smoke from tobacco products.

What does yellow mucus mean?

Often, the color change of mucus says something about an underlying disease and the presence of microbes (bacteria, viruses or fungi). For example, one of the first signs of a cold is an abundant loss of clear and watery mucus (runny nose).

At this stage, it is a viral infection.

However, after a few days, an untreated cold can cause a yellowish or greenish (bacterial infection) secretion from the nose.

Often, yellow mucus is a sign of bacterial infestation and also indicates that the immune system is fighting against the bacteria. Often yellow (purulent) mucus is also viscous. Usually, this is also associated with:

  • A stuffy nose,
  • Breathing difficulties.

Causes of yellow mucus

If there is a bacterial infection, the mucus turns yellow. There are many diseases that can provoke this situation:

Viral infections: When a virus enters the body, the immune system is busy destroying the virus and becomes susceptible to other infections.

Untreated colds or influenza are the most common causes of bacterial sinusitis. Often they also cause coughing.

In this case, the mucus can:

  • Being dark (for example, blue or black),
  • Be foul-smelling,
  • Be tough and sticky.

The patient observes this especially in the morning.

A tooth abscess, from which pus enters one of the paranasal sinuses, can cause foul-smelling mucus.

Allergy: According to Robert H. Shmerling, MD (Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications), seasonal allergies can cause several types of nasal secretion:

  • Thick or subtle,
  • Yellow, green or clear.

Foods: Some foods can cause color changes in mucus (artificial or natural colors found in foods).

Sore throat: Sore throat caused by cold/influenza (virus) or swollen pharyngeal tonsils (commonly seen in children) make a person susceptible to bacterial infection and the formation of yellow mucus.

Upper respiratory tract infections: Bronchitis, pneumonia, and other respiratory infections can also lead to the development of yellow mucus, thus indicating a bacterial infection.

Nasal polyps: Non-carcinogenic (benign) tissue formation often hinders the nose and sinuses, thus creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Yellow mucus is the sign of such an infection.

Excessive mucus formation in the nose

Auch bei einer gesunden Person ist der Körper ein Organismus, der etwa 1 – 1,5 Liter Schleim am Tag produziert, am meisten morgens, und tatsächlich muss sich ein Mensch nach dem Erwachen oftmals die Nase putzen.

Der größte Schleimanteil läuft den Rachen hinunter, ohne dass sich ein Mensch dessen bewusst wird.

However, there are times when you notice mucus – not because mucus production is increased, but because the texture changes.

Usually, mucus production increases significantly to:

  • Cold
  • Allergy
  • Contact with irritants.

During pregnancy, you can observe a disorder called pregnancy cold. This is probably caused by hormones in the blood (estrogens and progesterone), which cause swelling of the nasal mucosa.

How to reduce nasal secretion

As a rule, one should be able to relieve nasal secretion at home.

Loosen mucus

The mucus should be thin and not sticky or viscous.

Tough and sticky mucus can:

  • cause breathing problems,
  • Increase the risk of some complications, such as ear infections (otitis media or inflammation of the ear canal).

One of the ways to liquefy mucus is steam inhalation.

Steam inhalation

  • Fill a small pot with half a liter of water,
  • add 2 teaspoons of sodium bicarbonate,
  • Boil the water,
  • Then place the pot on the table,
  • cover the head above the pot with a towel,
  • Inhale the steam for 10 minutes.

You can also use a nasal spray with salt water or turn on a humidifier to humidify the room air.

A decongestant nasal spray should not be used for more than three days (unless otherwise prescribed by the doctor).


Antihistamines are medicines that prevent the symptoms of an allergy. These medications can cause severe drowsiness.

Antihistamines can also react with other medications.

Before using antihistamines, one should talk to the doctor, especially if taken at the same time:

  • muscle relaxants,
  • Soporific
  • Sedative.

Mucolytics – Only in the initial phase (in the first 24 hours) to favor the transition of a dry cough into a productive cough.

Most often, acetylcysteine (Fluimucil ® ) is used.

Mucolytics are not used in the hospital because they can cause secretion congestion in the lower respiratory tract.

Natural remedies for nasal mucus

Ginger tea

Ginger is used to flavor many recipes.

But it is also a natural anti-inflammatory and excellent for the treatment of many ailments.

It has antibiotic properties that help eliminate infections. Ginger tea is an herbal remedy for nasal congestion. It is also recommended to inhale its vapors.

Treatment of cold and influenza

If a cold or influenza leads to nasal secretion, there are not many treatment options.

Above all, one should rest.

If the flu symptoms are severe, the doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug.

This can shorten the duration of recovery.

Hot shower

It has an immediate effect. A very hot shower and then an inhalation over hot steam until you feel better.

This not only frees the nose, but:

  • Also calms the nerves,
  • Relaxes the person.

This remedy is especially effective when going to bed afterwards. In case of fever, however, this treatment should be omitted.

Mucous nose in infants

It is complicated to blow an infant’s nose. In this case, you can suck off a heavily stuffed nose with a nasal aspirator.

Eucalyptus oil

If you are at work or outside the house and have a stuffy nose, you can put a few drops of eucalyppus oil on a handkerchief.

Every time the nose becomes congested, you can smell the handkerchief and immediately feel relief from nasal congestion.

You can drizzle a few drops of eucalyppus oil on the pillow. The smell helps to clear the nose during sleep.

You can also use lavender oil or tea tree oil, but eucalyptus is more effective.

Homeopathic remedies

Homeopathy weighs all the symptoms of a disease before prescribing a remedy.

If thick and yellow mucus runs out of the nose, the homeopath can recommend Pulsatilla.


  • Heat the Pulsatilla solution,
  • Pour the solution into a syringe without a cannula,
  • Put a few drops of this solution in the nose.

In the pharmacy or drugstore there are also nasal sprays based on Pulsatilla.

Treatment with Pulsatilla can be repeated 4 to 5 times a day.

Prevention of nasal secretion

Unfortunately, not all nasal secretions can be prevented.

But you can prevent diseases that cause excessive mucus production.

According to naturopathy, infections arise when the body is full of toxins.

These substances are produced during the digestion of foods that are not suitable for humans.

Harmful microorganisms grow in the organs when they:

  • have died,
  • Decompose.

Bacteria and fungi do not multiply in healthy tissue because they cannot find nutrients there.

To prevent the growth of such microorganisms, one should follow a natural diet, without:

  • Processed products,
  • Baked food,
  • Stimulating and sweetened drinks (Coca-Cola, tea, coffee),
  • cereals, especially if they contain gluten,
  • Milk and dairy products.

After such foods are excluded, one can follow a vegan diet or one rich in animal proteins and vegetables (such as the blood type diet).

To be effectively protected against flu, the doctor recommends a flu shot every year.

If allergies cause nasal secretion, the materials that cause the symptoms must be avoided.

To identify the allergens, it may be useful to keep a diary of all activities.

No smoking. This can help to keep the nose free of irritation and inflammation.

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