Many things in life confuse me. I have lots of questions about why we do what we do – questions that remained largely unanswered. Most are trivial and benign, the answers to which won’t leave any lasting impression on my life or change the way I live. They fall mainly in the ‘would be nice, but not essential, to know’ bracket. Like why do people check their tissues after blowing their noses? It’s an almost involuntary reflex. What is it they’re looking for? I know good manners says we shouldn’t but just watch… so many do.
A recent article in the Journal.ie talks about what the color of snot means. (Journal.ie is a nifty app that gives bite-sized pieces of news from Ireland and abroad, allowing me to keep in touch with what is going on at home, even if none of what I read will have any lasting effect on my life and most of which definitely falls into the trivia category (i.e., one Irish citizen was arrested every 4 hours in London in 2015).
- Clear is good – it lubricates and moisturises. But too much of a good thing can herald bad times – like allergies or the start of a cold.
- White shows signs of irritation like a cold but could also signal an allergy to dairy products. And did you know that too much coffee, tea, and booze can also dehydrate and turn your snot white?
- Yellow means possible infection. Your white blood cells are fighting something and dying in the process.
- Green for a few weeks? Accompanied by fever or nausea? Then it’s time to see the doctor about whatever infection is rampaging your bod.
- Pink or red means blood. No prizes for guessing that one. Allergies, infection, or lots of blowing can trigger this.
- Brown can also be blood … or dirt, dust, or cigarette smoke. So don’t panic. But if you’re coughing up brown mucus – that could mean bronchitis.
- If it’s black and you don’t live in a big, smoggy city or work in a smoky bar, you could have a fungal infection.
Finally, thankfully, I have my answer. People checking tissues after blowing have been self-diagnosing.
Now, if someone could tell me why so many greats popped off the face of the earth in January, I’d be really grateful.