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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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