Yellow Mucus Discharge Causes and Treatments

Yellow snot or mucus causes

Table Of Contents

We all know the normal color of mucus. What if one day you cough yellow mucus or snot? This can be a bit worrying. Is it an indication of a serious health problem? This is not always the case.

Yellow snot may be because of irritation or allergic reaction. Some foods you took or exposure to dust and other chemicals might adversely react with your sinuses. You know what the sinuses are? These are air spaces located in your facial bones and some of them extend to the skull. They are the main components of the upper respiratory system.

Yellow snot or mucus causes

Yellow snot causes

In some cases, foods and dust may irritate the sinuses. Furthermore, some bacteria and viruses might also attack them. In addition, exposure to some drugs and sprays may also worsen the condition.

Any infection or allergic reaction to the sinuses might be characterized with the production of yellow mucus discharge. In this case, the discharge that you are noting might be because of a sinus infection.

Sinus and mucus production?

Mucus production is not only normal but also a continuous process that occurs in your body without your knowledge. This mucus is commonly known as sinus mucus or snot. It flows from the sinuses down to the nasal cavities.

Usually, the production of snot by sinuses is average in quantity. Therefore, excess production means that all is not well. Furthermore, change in color is also a sign that our sinuses are not functioning well. For example, when one is having a cold or flu, then production of mucus is exaggerated.

What does yellow mucus tell you?

You may have heard people complain of yellow-green mucus coming from the nasal cavity. Others complain of coughing up yellow-green mucus. What does this tell you?

According to many sources, thick yellow mucus may signify a few health conditions. The most common ones are:

  • Sinus infection
  • Nasal polyps
  • Cold or flu
  • Bronchitis
  • Candida albicans occasionally
  • Allergy reaction
  • Air dryness

You should always note that different colors of your snot mean different things. Do you know what different colors mean? You deserve to know that snot may take various colors such as yellow, clear, white, blood, green and brown.

The meaning of each of the above colors is as follows:

  • Clear sinus mucus – When the color is clear, then, you have nothing to worry about. This is the normal color. It is continuously produced to aid in the breathing system.
  • Blood or pink sinus mucus – Red signifies danger. Blood in your snot signifies a serious infection. You should, therefore, seek prompt medical help.
  • Yellow or dark yellow sinus mucus – In most cases, your snot appears dark yellow in color. Without any doubt, it signifies an infection or an allergic reaction. Alongside, the dark yellow color, you may also note some sneezing, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and chest discomfort among other symptoms.
  • Green mucus – If your turn green, then this indicates a problem in the respiratory system. For example, it could be bronchitis. Alongside the green secretion, you may also witness some fever and pain in the chest region. Seek medical help in case of this.

Is it a bacterial infection?

Are you coughing up yellow snot? This might be an indication that you are having a bacterial infection. These mucus color following bacterial infections comes along with other symptoms.

Some of the symptoms to note include:

  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath
  • Sinus pressure
  • Pain all over the body
  • Fever
  • Excessive sinus drainage
  • Nasal congestion
  • Pain in the forehead
  • Phlegm

Snot can either be light or dark yellow. While light isn’t that serious, dark yellow one means more than mucus. Any bacterial infection in the respiratory system may cause this color of snot.

For instance, having sinusitis can cause a yellow snot. How? This is a sinus which occurs when the tissues lining the sinuses get inflamed. The sinuses, in this case, get filled with fluid. The condition is attributed to various factors such as common cold, bacterial infection, allergic rhinitis, deviated septum and nasal polys among other factors.

If the sinuses are attacked by bacteria, then you are likely to see this color of a snot. Commonly, other symptoms may be witnessed alongside the production of thick yellow mucus.

These include:

  • Severe coughing, especially at night
  • Difficulty in breathing due to nasal congestion
  • Fever
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Pressure and swelling in the forehead and eyes
  • A sore throat
  • A headache
  • Upper jaw and tech ache

Risk factors

Before seeking treatment, it is advisable to understand why you are having yellow mucus discharge from nose. According to, this discharge is attributed to the following risk factors:

  1. Allergies – There are many things that can irritate the sinus and nasal cavities. One of such things is dust. When you are exposed to dust, the sinus cavity gets irritated and it produces a snot that may be yellow in color.
  2. Smoking – People who excessively smoke can have their sinus infected. As a result, their mucus may turn yellow.
  3. Sinus pressure – This is caused by congestion of the sinus cavity. As a result, air cannot flow freely. This results to the accumulation of pressure, commonly known as sinus pressure.
  4. Foods you eat – Some foods eaten lead to excessive production of phlegm and mucus. As a result of this excessive drainage, there is sinus pressure. One, therefore, produces yellowish mucus.
  5. Inhaling dry air – When you inhale dry air, nasal cavity membranes also get dehydrated. As they try to hydrate, they produce this color of snot.
  6. Bacterial infection – We have already talked about sinusitis. This, among other conditions, is attributed to bacterial infections. When sinuses are attacked by viruses and bacteria, the irritation, you can have a yellow
  7. Cold or Flu –  Cold that prolongs for weeks may also irritate the nasal cavities. As a result, they produce dark yellow mucus.

Why am I coughing up yellow mucus?

Some people cough yellow mucus with blood. This can be an indication that you are having bronchitis. If this is so, then you are likely to see other accompanying symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, feeling tired, chest discomfort and fever.

This condition comes along with a persistent cough. Anyone with this condition is always coughing up a yellowish snot. People who smoke are at a higher risk of getting bronchitis. One also feels a strong urge to clear the throat every now and then. This feeling may continue for months.

How do you deal with yellow mucus?

Understanding everything about sinuses and yellow mucus is essential. This is the first step towards treating the condition. According to, sinus problems and a yellow snot area manageable condition.

The following factors are paramount in getting relief for the yellow snot.

  • Boost your immunity – Respiratory infections are closely related to a compromised immune system. In this regard, boosting your immunity is essential in fighting this condition. This can be achieved through healthy eating.
  • Avoid some foods and drinks – It is evident, according to past research, that some foods increase sinus drainage. Therefore, avoiding some foods and drinks would play a significant role in providing relief to this condition.
  • Know your allergies – Here, you need to know what might be irritating your sinuses cavity. This could be dust or even fumes. Keeping off such irritants would help in healing this condition.
  • Don’t smoke – Smoking cigarette is a significant risk factor as already seen. If you are having this condition, then quitting smoking is inevitable.
  • Seek medical help – In cases of chronic yellow mucus, home remedies may not help you much. Therefore, you may seek help from an ENT specialist.
  • Drink a lot of water– This is an effective way of preventing yellowing of your snot. Water, however, should not be supplemented with cold drinks.


  1. Yellow mucus: Causes Symptoms & Relief
  2. What is Sinusitis (Sinus Infection)?
  3. Picture of the Sinuses
  4. What Does the Color of My Snot Mean?
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