It snot what you think!


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Every season my body falls ill with the common cold. No matter how hard I try, I find myself sick in bed with a box of kleenex and a bowl of soup. Over the years I've been able to figure out when I'm getting sick based on my developing symptoms. Besides the most common symptoms such as, sore throat, headache, runny nose, and body aches, I've become accustomed to seeing my mucus change color- from clear to green. What causes this color change is actually quite interesting and may surprise you! I promise, it snot what it seems!
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When your body begins to react to the cold virus, you may think this means you are unhealthy. Guess again. It actually means your body is fighting back! WebMD's article, "The Truth About Mucus" explains, that when you have a cold, your body sends white blood cells called , neutrophilis, to the infection. These cells contain a special enzyme that are- you guessed it, green. Doctors attribute the green color we blow into our tissues to these enzymes because when they are present in large numbers, they can turn mucus the same color! 
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You may be asking yourself, well what if my mucus is another color? Perhaps red or brown? These hues are attributed to some other factors in the nose such as bleeding and irritation. Your nose is packed with blood vessels and too much blowing can cause them to bleed. Do not fear- this is a normal symptom.

The next step one usually takes after realizing they have a cold is to purchase a nasal decongestant. Most people grab something over the counter such as DayQuil. The way these decongestants work is by narrowing the blood vessels in your nasal lining. This reduces blood flow to the area and relives congestion- allowing you to breath more easily. 
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It's truly shocking how common the cold is and how many people are still oblivious to why their symptoms are what they are. Additionally, I felt this blog topic brought up an interesting idea: people are so quick to take medicines, but how many of those people actually know how the medicine works? Are we a society too quick to take drugs? Comment and share your thoughts! 

2 Comments

In my opinion, our society had quickly become one that takes medicine at the first sign of illness without really thinking about what we are taking. We don't won't to deal with our sickness on our own or suffer any symptoms; we want the "quick fix." Although in a different context, this willingness to take anything was illustrated in class today. When Mary Beth Williams asked the class if anyone asked what was being pumped into them before a MRI, not one person raised their hand. A liquid was being placed in their bodies and not one person even asked what it was. Many people blindly trust medicines and treatments without a doubt because they simply believe it will make them better. This is quite a presumption to make when medical mistakes kill more than 200,000 people every year. We need to stop being so trusting.

For a link to the data on medical mistakes visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/opinion/more-treatment-more-mistakes.html

Thanks for writing this blog! I was really sick a couple weeks ago with a sinus infection and strep throat. One of the first questions the doctor asked me was what color my mucus was, with which I replied green. I didn't think too much about it other than that meant I was most likely sick. I also never knew how DayQuil worked, which is my go to cold remedy when I am sick. I also take Mucinex when I am sick, because as my dad puts it: the amount of mucus that comes out of me could fuel a third world country (disgusting, sorry). I do think that as a society we are a little too quick to run to the doctor to seek prescriptions, but why would we not be if these are proven to work? However, I was prescribed an antibiotic that didn't work at all, and actually made me worse. I developed an ear infection, and when I called to complain to my mom she said that the particular antibiotic I was on has always done that to me. I couldn't find too much information from viable sources that confirmed this, but I do think it is weird that without fail in the past, this particular antibiotic has caused another infection.

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