People are only just realising why you get so snotty when you've got a cold | The Sun

POSSIBLY the worst thing about a cold in the snot that comes with it.

Not only do you have to keeping mopping up your drippy nose with tissues, sometimes your schnoz gets so clogged you have to resort to mouth breathing.

When you're drowning in tissues and can't remember the last time you were able to take a deep breath, have you ever stopped to wonder why your nose gets snotty?

And where the mucus comes from in the first place?

Though it might not feel like it when you're in the throes of a cold, snot is actually a helpful bodily product.

You always have a thin layer of mucus lining your nose and throat and you swallow it day long without knowing it, according to Healthline.

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Glands in your nose and throat are responsible for producing mucus – one or two quarts of it daily – to keep your nose and sinuses moist, trap dust and other particles you inhale.

It also helps you fight infections, which is where those pesky colds come in.

"We all know about the dreaded snotty nose that can come with feeling a bit under the weather," Sadik Al-Hassan, superintendent pharmacist at Pilltime Bristol, told The Sun.

"The mucus that makes up a snotty nose is actually part of the body's defence mechanism to trap harmful organisms and help us get rid of them."

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What happens when I get a cold?

The mucus membranes in your nose become inflamed when your body is fighting an infection, allergies, or comes into contact with other irritants.

This'll cause you normally thin and watery snot to thicken, making your nose run.

The thicker mucus can make it more difficult for bacteria to settle in your nose and the runniness means your body is expelling bacteria and other unneeded materials from your nose and sinuses.

It's not just colds that'll make your schnoz snotty – dust, pollen, mold, animal hair and other allergens can also make your glands produce excess mucus, as well as irritants like tobacco smoke or water.

And ever noticed that your nose starts streaming when you eat something very spicy? That's because your nasal membranes have become temporarily inflamed.

Does the colour of my snot mean anything?

Sadik said: "The different colours of your snot can actually tell you what is going on."

On a normal day, your snot should be clear and watery.

Dr Raj Sindwani from the Cleveland Clinic in the US said this is because most snot is a mixture of water, dissolved salts, proteins and antibodies.

Sadik said white snot often means you have a mild infection or even an allergy.

But if it changes to to yellow or light green, this could be 'indicative of a likely viral infection not requiring antibiotics', the pharmacist continued.

"There are colours that could be a sign to see the GP," Sadik warned.

If you notice your snot is brown, red or foul smelling, you should seek a referral.

Meanwhile, if your snot is black, it's not usually the marker of something sinister – it could just mean you live in a place with a lot of pollution or you're a smoker.

In rare cases, black mucus is a symptom of Mucormycosis, a rare fungal infection that people can contract after inhaling certain mold spores.

It only appears in around one in every one million people, the World Health Organisation (WHO) states.

How do I get rid of snot?

Getting rid of snot means treating the underlying cause of your runny nose. 

You can usually let a cold virus run its course and treat it with over-the-counter decongestants.

To treat a cold, the NHS recommends you:

  • rest and sleep
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
  • gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat (not suitable for children)

But you should see a GP if your symptoms don't improve after three weeks or get suddenly worse, and you get a very high temperature.

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If you know the source of your snot is an allergy, an over-the-counter antihistamine may be enough to dry out your nose.

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