Snot Cheat Sheet: Understanding Mucus

By Amanda Roland

When it comes to raising children, parents wear many hats. On any given day, you can be a chef, chauffeur, maid, therapist, nurse, teacher and last but not least, snot checker. That’s right, one of the many joys of parenting is being able to know if your kiddo’s snot (or mucus) looks normal – lucky you! The good thing is that knowing how to identify the state of your child’s mucus can be very beneficial for knowing how to help them. Here is a snot cheat sheet to have handy during the coming flu season! 

Clear or Colorless 

If your child’s sneeze looks colorless, you are in the clear. This mucus is healthy and normal. If you notice that your child is producing more mucus than normal, they may just be experiencing seasonal allergies or a mild cold. 


White mucus is a good indicator that your child might be getting a mild cold, according to a University of Utah Health article. “If your child has white mucus for more than two weeks, is a teenager, develops sinus pain, fever or other symptoms, they could be getting an infection.” 

Yellow or Green 

This color of snot typically means that an infection is being fought. It is actually good to see this color mucus when you are sick because it means that your body is doing its job. After your white blood cells are done fighting off and killing any unwanted germs, they are discarded through your mucus, leaving it a yellow-ish or green color, according to Healthline, an online health resource. Also, many times, a bacterial sinus infection can be identified through green, thick mucus. So if you see yellow or green in your child’s mucus, contact your child’s doctor for next steps. 


When mucus is red or pink, this means that there is blood in it. This can happen if your child experiences some kind of trauma to their nose, like if they hit their nose or scratched the inside. Bloody snot could also be from excessive blowing of the nose or just your average nose bleed. For younger children, if you notice bloody snot, it is always best to call your child’s doctor to be on the safe side. 


If you notice your child getting a lot of cuts on the inside of their nose, it could be caused by their nails when they pick their nose. Keeping their nails trimmed can cut down on the cuts and scrapes in their nose and on their face. 

While checking your child’s snot isn’t the most glamorous task, it is very helpful for understanding what is going on in their body. Remembering these color indicators can help you stay one step ahead of any potential health problems in your little one. 


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