Yellow mucus: a symptom of sinus infection

Ever experienced some thick yellow mucus, or sometimes even greenish, running out your nose? This could mean you’re suffering from a sinus infection, bus is it really enough of a symptom?



Why does your mucus change colour?


Your immune system uses some white blood cells that contain a green protein to fight an infection. This is what gives an unusual colour to your mucus. When it is yellow it is usually that you have a cold that is getting worse, when it is green it means you may suffer from a sinus infection.

How do you know if you have a sinus infection?


A sinus infection or sinusitis is usually caused by a virus, bacteria or even allergies. If a cold cannot be the cause of a sinusitis in itself, it does offer a favorable environment to it. An unusual mucus color is not enough to diagnose a sinus infection for sure. Other symptoms must be taken in consideration such as[1]:

  • Pain and feeling of pressure around your eyes, nose or forehead
  • A stuffed nose
  • Toothache
  • Bad Breath
  • A temperature of 38C or above



Drawing of a woman holding her head with parts of her face highlighted




 How to get rid of a sinus infection yourself?


It is often possible to treat a sinusitis at home. Rest and over-the-counter painkillers (paracetamol or ibuprofen) can help ease the pain and drop your temperature if needed. Other easy techniques can work against your sinuses’ congestion. You can for example inhale steam from a hot water recipient or clean your nose with a saline solution.

If you are not sure of how to do it, your pharmacist can advise you and recommend the best solution else against nasal congestions.

Some small little changes in your way of living can also help a lot. Try to drink as much water as possible and to avoid caffeine and alcohol. Spices can also help clear the sinuses so try to eat as hot as you are able to for a few days.



Lots of red chili peppers

Source: Wikipedia



What can a GP do in case of sinusitis?


 You must book an appointment with a GP if you are not getting better even after a week treating yourself or if you keep getting sinusitis often.

Your GP will be able to find out the cause of your infection and give you the appropriate treatment. If bacteria caused your sinusitis you would be prescribed antibiotics while you would have to take antihistamines to treat an allergy. If your sinuses are too swelled, you might also have to use steroid spray. Be aware that those medications should never be taken without being prescribed by your GP.

If your sinusitis lasts too long or that the medicines do not help, your GP might refer you a specialist (ENT).






Julia from Findoc