Causes of green snot

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

When winter approaches, red noses and scarves become another part of the decoration of any house. Colds, flu, colds, and other conditions attack our bodies, causing annoying symptoms such as headache, sore throat, fever, and mucus.

The abundance of mucus causes difficulties in breathing and tasting food, but beyond that, they do not cause much concern. The problem is if they change their color towards green tones since many people believe this is synonymous with complications in their disease.

The myth that when you have green snot, you should use antibiotics is false; green snot in babies and adults is typical in many diseases. Here we explain the cause in this FastlyHealarticle about why I have green snot.

What is snot

We all have them, and many of us suffer from them; when we have a stuffy nose and find it hard to breathe, we curse their existence, but do you know what snot is? Do you know its importance? Next, we will explain everything about this body fluid.

Mucus is a substance with a dense consistency that our own body produces as protection for different surfaces and tissues of our body. Although the most striking and the ones we pay attention to the most are those of the nose, we have mucus in many other parts of the body: in the stomach to protect ourselves from gastric juices, in the esophagus to lubricate it, in the colon, in the lungs, and so on. Oddly enough, our body produces about a liter of mucus daily.

Mucus is produced by goblet cells and is secreted through mucous membranes. Its composition is eminently based on water. However, it also has high concentrations of antibodies, with which our body defends itself against different threats that can attack our body.

Green snot

There is a fairly common myth that it becomes necessary to use antibiotics when the mucus is green and thick. This is false and has no basis. The slime color will not determine whether or not the person needs to use antibiotics. The cause of green snot is most likely a cold, a condition that up to 200 viruses can cause. Since antibiotics only work to treat bacterial infections, antibiotics do not work to treat green snot in babies, children, or adults.

The color of mucus changes throughout our immune system’s stages. Initially, they are transparent and liquid; with the passing of the days, they turn whitish; if the days go by and the infection persists, they will turn yellow, and from there, they will turn green, in different shades. We could compare the change in color of snot with the change in colors of a bruise: from its appearance, we can know things about its state and evolution.

What causes snot to be green

The moment a virus attacks our body, the whole body goes on alert, preparing to expel it. The nasal mucosa is part of this defensive system and is activated to remove viruses and prevent them from entering again. Once the body is infected, the neutrophils begin to do their job and manufacture an enzyme called peroxidase that must eliminate these viruses. Peroxidase is very rich in iron, which causes that when it oxidizes, it leaves a greenish tone. Thus, green mucus has this color because of the peroxidase and the iron present in it.

What Causes Green Snot

Green mucus is synonymous with infections, whether caused by viruses or bacteria. This tonality appears when our body’s immune system begins to fight against these external agents. Here we explain which are the most common conditions that usually cause green snot:

Common cold

The common cold, caused by the spread of a virus, is the cause of most cases of green snot. Among the main symptoms of the common cold are frequent sneezing, sore throat, headache, mild fever, and runny nose. In the final days of the illness, this discharge can turn green, which means that the body is working to expel the virus.

Since it is not a bacterial infection, antibiotics do not affect the development of this disease. Drinking chicken broth to cure a cold, drinking plenty of water, and using saline solutions to decongest the nose can help combat symptoms and recover from colds.


Sinusitis is usually a poorly treated cold; it is nothing more than inflammation of the nasal passages due to excess mucus. Besides congestion, green slime, and cough, sinusitis presents other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, headache, loss of appetite, cough, and fatigue. In the following article, you will find some of the best natural remedies for sinusitis.

Tonsillitis, rhinitis, and other infections

Other pathologies can lead to green and thick mucus, especially infections in the upper respiratory tract. These conditions include tonsillitis, a fairly common disease that inflames and infects the tonsils and can cause green mucus and cough.

Rhinitis, for its part, is the medical name we give to nasal congestion; that is, it is not a disease in itself but rather a symptom. Rhinitis can be caused by many conditions, but one of those that affect most directly is allergies.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why do I have green snot , we recommend that you enter our Ear, Nose and Throat category .

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