The truth about the runny nose

This article is also available in Italian.

It is common to see a child with a runny nose during the winter months, but when the mucus is yellow or green, is it dangerous?

Surely a baby with a snotty nose is not nice to see. Not to mention when the mucus stops there, and swing, until the child sticks out his tongue and ate him. Some mothers think that this can make one ill.

Generally the worst months are the spring, especially the month of March seems to be the most profitable for the “snotty noses” because of sudden changes in temperature and humidity.

The mucus comes from the Latin word: mucofagi, and is a mixture of liquids (water, proteins, simple sugars), white blood cells, dead cells, bacteria and viruses. The nose acts as a filter, trapping dust, bacteria, pollens, viruses, etc.. before they reach the lungs.

When the mucus stops near the nostril, it dries stopping the pollution out of the nose. Generally, this is yellow or green, and is probably the one full of bacteria or infected by viruses.

The body produces mucus when the nasal membranes are irritated, but to discover if the mucus is infected or not, we must look at the color.

When we get sick, and cells of the nasal mucosa is irritated, the body produces white blood cells, which give the color yellow or green, but often, at first, appear transparent. The same thing happens if we have pus or infection in other parts of the body.

Some doctors believe that the immune system is strengthened when the baby lick the snot-nosed, in the sense that the immune system will respond to contaminants, and the stomach will learn more quickly to neutralize them. If this is true, is not entirely negative that children eat mucus.

Beyond this, of course, I’m not recommend eating the mucus.

A researcher at the University of Oslo, Marianne Løken, writes: “the mucus we take, and eat from our nose, it is safe“. By this she means that the mucus may be harmful if it contains toxic particles coming from the air, but the possibility that happening are slim.

However, it is incorrect to write that it is harmless. Another doctor, a specialist in microbiology, Dr. Degre, says: “Sometimes the mucus leads infections“.

It happens that, after cleaning the nose, it may be formed scabs or lumps of mucus, and children often have some difficulty falling asleep.

When this happens, that the mucus becomes more viscous, with crusts and lumps, you should wash the baby’s nose with salt water.

You use 1 tablespoon of salt per liter of lukewarm water. This saline solution is excellent for removing dirt and scabs, however, the nasal spray opens the nose closed. The salt water has no side effects. The doctors, however, prefer that the nasal spray is use as little as possible.

Partly taken from the website and translated by Tamara De Zotti


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