Mucus: Snot Just A Discharge
What Is Mucus?
Mucus is a viscid fluid that is produced by mucus cells or membranes. You can discover mucus in your nose. Mucus also lines your stomach, intestines, urinary and reproductive cells. Colloquial terms for mucus, particularly that which originates from one's nose, include "snot", "boogie" or "booger". "Snot" generally refers to runny, sticky mucus, while the term "booger" embraces the more solidified variety.
The Role of Mucus
Mucus actually plays an important role in protecting your body from outside infections. In your nose, mucus captures dust or other airborne contaminants and stops them from entering your lungs. In your stomach, the mucus lining acts as a protective membrane against acidic enzymes that break down food. The mucus lining in your intestines helps food to move through them more easily. In the female reproductive system, mucus in the cervix serves to prevent infection. Different types of mucus secreted during a woman's cycle also serve to either empede or encourage sperm survival.
The Colors of Mucus
Apart from coming in different consistencies, mucus also comes in different colors. The color of your mucus is often a good indication of particular health problems.
Clear mucus - when the mucus is clear, it is a good start and usually means there is no infection. However, if you're always blowing your nose, you can have an allergy. People with hayfever or other allergies have clear mucus.
Green mucus - this is an indication of a (bacterial or viral) sinus infection . 90% of sinus infections are caused by viruses, therefore antibiotics may not help. You will need to boost your immune system to fight off the infection.
Yellow mucus - this is also an indication of a sinus infection, however the yellow color shows that your system is fighting back. Again, give your immune system a boost.
Brown mucus - your mucus may be brown if you are a smoker or drink too much alcohol. Another cause is blood in the mucus. This can be caused by nosebleeding or an irritated throat, giving mucus a brownish tinge. If you were working around a sandy/windy environment, the darkened color of mucus would be a direct result of trapped dirt particles in your nose.
Mucus Removal Techniques
While mucus plays a very important role in the body, sometimes there is a need to remove excess mucus. There are a couple of commonly employed techniques to remove mucus. Most people are familiar with these.
1. Picking your nose. This method is most effective when attempting to remove mucus that is predominantly in solid form. By that I am referring to the "crusty booger". Quite simply this involves a finger going into your nose, feeling around until a grib is established on the nugget, followed by a rolling or pulling action to release the booger. Disposal often entails a "flicking" action. For those people that require more information, i suggest reading about the art of picking your nose and how not to get caught. That's right, there is an etiquette involved and it is generally understood that while most people do it, it should be done privately. Poor Jerry was wrongly accused of picking his nose in the Seinfeld episode "The Pick".
2. Blowing your nose. This technique is recommended when your nasal passages are congested with snot, often during the cold & flu seasons. Picking your nose is not recommended as your finger will come away covered in a runny, sticky substance that cannot be "flicked" away so easily or discreetly. When blowing my nose i prefer (and recommend) using tissues rather than handkerchiefs. Here's why: Imagine discharging all that snot in a handkerchief then folding it and putting it back in your pocket (or in your back pocket) then feeling the contents ooze out as you sit down. What about when you need to use it again? Do you really want to take it out in front of people and display the state it is in while trying to find a clean corner? Yuck!
3. The football player method. This technique is similar to blowing your nose. In fact, the principle is not so different except that when you blow your nose it is generally performed in the confines of a tissue, handkerchief or shirt sleeve. The football player method requires no article to house the "blown" contents. To execute, simply press one finger on the outside of one nostril and blow hard to eject the contents of the other. Repeat the process for the other nostril. While it can be effective, I do NOT recommend this mucus removal technique on the grounds of socially acceptable behavior. The projectile mucus is unsightly and does not set a good example to children.
Seinfeld: "The Pick"
Snot Rags & Other Goodies
Great for practical jokes
References: Boy with snot picture: http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f299/deaney/snot.jpg / Girl with snot picture: www.hermaauguste.de/art/images/snot.jpg / http://www.sinuswars.com/mucus.asp
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