Where Does Snot Come From When You're Sick


Every year, a girlfriend and I have the same philosophical discussion about snot, as most attractive, intelligent single women do. We were curious as to where it comes from. As we enter winter again the discussion surrounding this topic is bound to come up once more. Each year we are irritated by the same runny nose that seems to supply an endless amount of mucus. The more you blow, the more it’s instantly replaced by an equal amount if not more. And if it’s not free flowing, it’s blocking up your nostrils causing you to have a stuffed nose as to where you can’t breath. So where does it all come from?

On a daily basis your nose makes more than a pint of snot. Though we do not notice it except for when we are sick, it is always there. The mucus that is naturally produced is made up of 95% of water, salt, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The mucus in your nose is there for a good reason. It is there to keep dirt, pollen and germs from making their way into your lungs and body. As we become sick with a cold or the flu, the nose begins to generate a surplus of snot in order to drive any germs away from entering the body or lungs. As long as the germs or bacteria continue to attack, the more you will notice that your sinuses will continually produce snot in order to drive them out of there. This is where the runny nose stems from. Though annoying, this prevention is to protect you from getting sicker than what you already are. But if too much mucus is produced it can build up behind swollen nasal passages. The swelling of the nasal passages is due to an increase in blood flow to the nasal area that is the handy work of your immune system sending out an army of white blood cells to fight the infection in the nose. This is what causes the dreaded stuffy nose.

There’s really no way of getting rid of your runny nose and stuffiness other than getting rid of the germs. Blowing your nose is one of the most effective ways of trying to make breathing a bit easier for yourself. Not only that, but it helps rid your body of the germs that are carried out along with the mucus. But there is an argument out as to whether or not blowing the nose repeatedly can cause negative consequences such as an acute sinus infection. It is said that the pressure that results from the force of blowing your nose can cause the germ toting mucus to go into your sinuses. Evidence has been inconclusive on that so far. Another way to rid a stuffy nose can be to increase the humidity in your room in order to loosen up your sinuses and help the mucus to remain a thin liquid consistency; making it easier to blow. Medicinally one can treat these nasal nuisances with either a decongestant or antihistamine. Decongestants can be used for de-clogging your nose by reducing the swelling of your nasal passages and antihistamines can be used for helping with runny noses by decreasing the production of mucus. Other ways to fight a stuffed nose is inhaling steam from a hot shower, Vicks Vapor rub, nasal decongestant sprays and staying hydrated. Also, keeping the head elevated can help you breathe a little better doing those restless non-breathing nights.

So there you have it. Though still a nuisance it all make sense as to why our nose becomes so clogged with mucus. Since it seems no cure for the common cold will be invented any time soon snot is all we got. So as you pull one more tissue keep in mind that its soon-to-be contents is all for the greater good. Happy blowing and God bless you in advance.

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Comments 8 comments

Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK

A pint of it a day!! I am gagging into my tissue as I type! Nonetheless, as I am suffering at the moment with a cold, I found this interesting and useful and am voting it up. Thanks Nia


NiaG profile image

NiaG 5 years ago from Louisville, KY Author

I know, who knew we had so much naturally. It makes you cringe to know how much we're producing when sick. I've caught a cold too, from a co-worker no doubt, and thought I'd finally find the answer to this.


Kim Cantrell profile image

Kim Cantrell 5 years ago from Deep In The Pages of a Book

A pint per day? Ack!

Glad to know I'm not the only gal discussing icky things with her girlfriends. lol


NiaG profile image

NiaG 5 years ago from Louisville, KY Author

You're not alone Kim! Who else can we discuss about things? Thanks for dropping in a comment. Have a good day!


ctrlaltdileep 3 years ago

Correct 'accept' with 'except'.

Good informative article. Pint a day seems excessive! Did not know that.


NiaG profile image

NiaG 3 years ago from Louisville, KY Author

Thanks for the editing advice ctrlaltdileep. I hate when I miss things like that. You can read over it a million times and still miss something. And I know right?! A pint? I guess we're all full of it after all. Ha! That's a cool username you have by the way. Thanks for stopping by! Have a good day!


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 3 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I'm glad I finally know it's purpose but I definitely don't like it. However, if it means not getting sick I guess it has it's own purpose.


NiaG profile image

NiaG 3 years ago from Louisville, KY Author

It's all quite annoying but like you said as long as it has a purpose I guess it's alright. :0) Hope all is good with you Alecia. Thanks for stopping by!

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