What Your Boogers Say About You
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Bats in the cave, nose goblins, snot rockets. Ya know, boogers. We all have 'em. Some people pick 'em, some kids eat 'em. As do far too many adults.
Your body can't get enough of the stuff and makes around a liter of mucus every day. And yes, that WILL come up in bar trivia next week.
Boogers actually serve an important role in fighting off infections. And even when you don’t have an infection, they help prevent one and even keep your nose from drying out.
How does this work exactly? The opening to your nose is lined with tiny hairs that trap debris and prevent it from entering your lungs. These hairs also provide a cozy home for mucus, which forms the bulk of boogers along with water and antibodies. This mucus is rich in infection-fighting immune cells, including white blood cells. It traps inhaled bacteria and viruses and prevents them from entering your body and making you sick. So while it's okay to trim your nose hairs cosmetically, nasal deforestation is a big bold NO.
Side note, in theory those nose hair extensions may help reduce infections for just this reason. You should get on this immediately.
What exactly do your boogers say about your health though?
Clear mucus means you’re as healthy as a horse! (Bonus fact: horses breathe exclusively out of their noses - never their mouths. Super healthy! Maybe that's where the expression comes from? )
Thick white snot may mean you have some sinus congestion or are dehydrated. Drink up!
Yellow boogers indicate a viral infection. Many immune cells are brought to the scene to help fight it off. As annoying as that runny nose may be, Who else hates cold season?
Green boogers may mean bacterial infection! Your boogers are full of bacteria-fighting cells that release toxins in an attempt to kill the bacteria. Don’t be too mad at them, they’re there to help you.
Black mucus, besides freaking you out, might mean there’s a fungus among us. Your nasal discharge may also be black if you smoke. Either way, not great. Seek treatment!
Red usually indicates blood, and may mean you may have a cut, your nose is dry, or you’ve been picking or blowing your nose too hard.
Brown could mean some dirt made its way into your honker, or it could just be dried blood.
Before you tumble down a WebMD rabbit hole, the bottom line here is suboptimal mucus colors aren't too serious. If you see blood, stop picking or blow more gently. If it's green or yellow, maybe don't let it mellow - see a doctor if you feel really sick, but rest assured your nose is already on the case.
And please, if your snot smells extremely stinky: see a doctor, for your sake and everyone else’s.
Breathe In Life’s Moments
Nose issues can take the fun out of life. Here at HALE, we’re developing a discreet product for improved nasal breathing you can wear from day to night. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter at @wear_hale, and sign up to our mailing list at www.wearhale.com to follow our progress to launch!