It’s Snot Easy Being Green

child sneeze_thumb[10]-1_1If you’re like most moms, you’re a wee bit obsessed with the color of your little munchkins’ bodily discharge.  And that includes nasal discharge, or SNOT.  We all get to inspect quite a lot of it in those first few years when it feels like they catch a cold every other week.  In fact, that’s not far off — the average toddler has 8 colds a year!

Tell me you wouldn’t do almost anything to nip that sucker in the bud, stop that nose from running, and plug up that dripping faucet of phlegm.  I know. And when it starts to look thick or green it’s tempting to go rushing to the pediatrician to ask for antibiotics, ’cause green means bacterial … right?

Well, no.  It’s the rare upper respiratory infection that’s caused by bacteria. The vast majority are caused by cold viruses like the rhinovirus or adenovirus.  All together, there are over 200 different viruses that may cause symptoms of the common cold, and none of them are treatable with antibiotics. Chicken soup? Lots of fluids? Rest and tincture of time? Yes, yes, and yes. But not antibiotics.

Some other remedies that may help include zinc (as long as you stay away from the nasal swab form that can cause loss of sense of smell), echinacea, and vitamin C. But not antibiotics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when cold viruses infect the respiratory tract, the body makes clear mucus that helps wash away germs. After about three days, the body’s immune cells fight back, changing the discharge to a white or yellow color. “As the bacteria that live in the nose grow back, they may also be found in the mucus, which changes to a greenish color,” the agency says. This is normal.

Another important factor that influences the color is hydration. Kids who drink plenty of fluids have thinner, clearer mucous (and paler, clearer urine, too).  Drier, stickier mucous looks greener and yuckier.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The color of nasal discharge should not dictate the medicine.

Email This Post Email This Post

Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


Warning: Illegal string offset 'echo' in /home/mamasonc/public_html/mama/wp-content/themes/hybrid/library/extensions/custom-field-series.php on line 157

One response to “It’s Snot Easy Being Green”

  1. Paige

    Great information! Especially since Kennedy just got a runny nose yesterday!

Leave a Reply

Loading

MAMAS ON DEMAND

PARENT COACHING
& CONSULTATION

With One or Both of Us


Go to AskDrMama.com & AskMamaEllen.com for the scoop!

Phone • Internet • Your Home or Group

Watch This!

Keep their science muscles growing with these easy, fun experiments!

What You Said

  • 83Roxanna: Hi admin, i must say you have very interesting posts here. Your website can go viral. You need initial...
  • тетрадь по геометрии 8 класс атанасян 2015: Готовые домашние задания по геометрия 8 класс атанасян контрольная работа...
  • Ellen Schrier: Thank you so much! Please come back often!
  • Ellen Schrier: Hi Lisa, Sorry for the very late response. We are sorry to hear about your daughter and are sure that...
  • Lisa jacobs: My daughter was in a car accident and now has a concussion. She is plan to go to Mexico City which is a...
  • RF: Well my baby had her first two bottom theeth at 10 months old and i tought so far so good and then now at 11...
  • kupon rabatowy apart: I am actually thankful to the owner of this site who has shared this impressive article at at...
  • ofertas cine: That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thanks...
  • Commercial Real Estate: Hello there, You have done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to...
  • actualite: Hi to every one, the contents present at this website are really remarkable for people knowledge, well,...

Just so you know

The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.