By , Alyssa Jung
Published October 20, 2018
Mucus protects our body by trapping bacteria and particles. The color and texture of your mucus can give clues about your overall health.
…you likely inhaled dark-colored particles, like smoke from a fire or heavy exhaust. Regular smokers can also blow out darker mucus because of the tar or other toxic byproducts they inhale, says Alfred M.C. Iloreta, Jr., MD, an otolaryngologist at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. If you’re not a smoker, black mucus could mean a serious fungal infection, especially in people with compromised immune systems, according to Cleveland Clinic. Wondering why we even have mucus in the first place? Here’s the explanation (plus, the science behind 9 other types of body gunk).
…you could be dehydrated. Dehydration can cause mucus to thicken and coat the throat, making it feel sticky and dry, says Dr. Iloreta. Gulping down H20 will hydrate your body and the mucus should thin right out.
…you might have pneumonia, a sinus or throat infection, or another respiratory tract infection and your immune system is hard at work. “The green color comes from an overload of white blood cells fighting that infection,” says Dr. Iloreta. You’ll probably notice other symptoms, such as a cough or stuffy nose. Try these tips to relieve congestion.