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Entries in mucus (1)

Saturday
Nov242012

FYI: Does snot color matter?  

We at Twin City Pediatrics are seeing many children with dripping noses - many of whom have colds (viral upper respiratory infections), some with a more severe viral illness - influenza, and some with bacterial sinusitis. 

So how do you know when it's time to bring your own drippy nose kiddo in to see us?  One of the most widespread medical myths has to do with the color of snot (or nasal discharge).  Years ago, many doctors believed that clear or white snot was a sign of a viral illness but the yellow or greenish snot indicated a bacterial infection had set in.  

Luckily, we now know much more about snot...are you on the edge of your seat now?

Snot is nasal mucus which is made by specialized cells that line the nose, sinuses, and entire repsiratory tract.  Typically, a normal person makes about a quart of it a day!  Nasal mucus is part water, part proteins (called mucins - which help make it sticky), and part disease-fighting cells.   Mucus serves several key rolls, it helps prevents and fights infections, it keeps the nasal linings moist and humidifes inhaled air, and it it traps infectious particles and airborne particles that we breathe into our nose (like fly paper).

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