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How The Color Of Your Phlegm And Snot Says About Your Health

How The Color Of Your Phlegm And Snot Says About Your Health

Phlegm, or mucus, plays an important role in our bodies.[1] Tissues in the body that produce mucus are found in the mouth, nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. Phlegm has a role to protect these surfaces so that the tissue that lies underneath does not dry out. It also has a preventive role since it traps bacteria and viruses, and contains the enzymes that kill them. Our body normally produces around 1-1.5 liters of mucus every day. While the production of mucus is important to the overall functionality of the body, phlegm that is a different color than the usual healthy clear appearance of mucus, can lead to concerns about our health.

There are certain myths connected to different colors of mucus, however, there isn’t always scientific data to support them. Below is a list of the different colors phlegm can appear as, the myths associated with them, and ultimately, what snot says about your health:

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Clear

When your mucus is clear, it means you are healthy. In order to keep your mucus healthy, you need to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your mouth and throat moist. To keep your nose hydrated, rinse your nose with salt water, but not too often since it might have the opposite effect. It is also important to keep the air in your living and working space humid, especially in the winter.

White/gray color

There are certain misconceptions that drinking milk and other dairy products leads to white or gray color of mucus, but there is no scientific data to support this claim.[2] However, it causes the mucus to thicken, thus making it harder for you to expel it. When your mucus is white or gray, it means that it is coming from your sinuses, which normally doesn’t happen. However, when there is an inflammation, it can cause mucus to drain to throat, as Dr. Steve Okhravi, an emergency physician suggests[3].

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Yellow/green color

Having yellow or green mucus is not always a reason to panic and immediately call your doctor. It may be the sign of an infection, since when an infection occurs, the immune system sends white blood cells which contain a green protein that can color the mucus. However, according to one study[4], it was discovered that yellow or green color is not always a sign there is an infection in our body, since only 46% of the samples collected were culture-positive. In some cases, the yellow or green color of mucus can be a result of seasonal allergies and has nothing to do with viral or bacterial infections.

Dark yellow/brown color

There are several possible reasons for the brown color of mucus[5]. If you are a smoker, the mucus your body produces can have a tendency to be a brown color because of various matters in cigarettes. If you are not a smoker, the brown color of your mucus can be the result of certain types of food you ate or beverages you consumed, such as chocolate, coffee, or red wine. However, if accompanied by other symptoms, such as a fever for example, you should seek medical advice.

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Pink/red color

When mucus is a pink color that means there is a little blood in it. For example, blood can come from blood vessels in your nose. However, a pink/red color may also indicate certain severe conditions[6], such as pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs), tuberculosis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, and cancer. So, if there is an excessive amount of blood in your mucus and it doesn’t stop, seek medical help.

Black color

Black mucus might mean you inhaled dirt, dust, or smoke, or might be the influence of certain environmental factors. It might also signal there is a chronic sinus infection or fungus, as Scott Stringer, MD, Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center suggests.

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In order to prevent the mucus from building up and causing complications, you need to stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water and hot liquids a day, and avoid consuming dairy products. In order to loosen mucus, the better choice would be spicy food, which is known to clear the nasal passages. Also, try to blow your nose as often as possible, inhale steam from boiling water, gargle your throat with warm water and salt, and stay away from smoke.

Reference

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Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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