Why The Color Of Your Mucus Matters More Than You Think

It's not a common topic, but your mucus is an important aspect of your health. Respiratory mucus keeps your throat, lungs, and sinus passages moist. It also contains antibodies that work to keep you healthy. Some mucus is normal, and it can come in an array of colors if you're fighting a virus or infection, according to Everyday Health. Knowing what the different colors mean can give you an upper hand in tackling a particular health issue.

Clear mucus — especially a lot of it — indicates that your body might be fighting allergies or an infection. White mucus could be a sign that you have a respiratory infection. Mucus could be clear in the beginning stages, but will turn white as your body produces white blood cells to help fight the infection, per Verywell Health.

Yellow, green, red, brown, and black mucus

Yellow mucus is another sign of immune response from your body, when cells called neutrophils have been created to fight viruses, such as the common cold and flu (via Parade). You might see mucus turn green a few days into an infection that is most likely caused by a virus. Believe it or not, dead white blood cells give it a greenish hue.

If your mucus is pink or red, it's likely that there is a little bit of blood in it. This color is common with chest infections, but it can also signify something more serious, like pneumonia, a pulmonary embolism, or cystic fibrosis, per Healthline. Brown mucus might be a sign that you are coughing up old blood, which could indicate that you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or acute bronchitis (via WebMD).

Black phlegm is a sign that you may have inhaled a toxic pollutant. It's also a symptom of a fungal infection. In some cases, it could also indicate lung cancer, per Medical News Today. If you are concerned about any unusual mucus color, it's never a bad idea to speak with your doctor.