Miami Living Magazine

Ashley Haas

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Health Check Does Green Mucus Mean You’re Infectious and Need Antibiotics? John Turnidge, Affiliate Professor of Molecular and Biomedical Science, University of Adelaide Special thanks to The Conversation When you have a cold or other respiratory illness, you might see a range of different colours of mucus or snot when you blow your nose. We’re often told – even by doctors – that green or yellow secretions indicate you’re infectious. But this isn’t true. It’s unclear how this myth arose, but it’s likely a misunderstanding of the appearance and colour of pus. Pus usually signals the arrival of harmful bacteria to a site, such as golden staph into a hair follicle resulting in a boil. But in the case of respiratory infections, the green or yellow colour is due to the white blood cells. During a viral infection, the lining of the respiratory cells is damaged, which initially provokes the excess production of mucus. This is followed by the arrival of white blood cells, which clean up the cellular debris.

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