Why Does Your Nose Run When You Get a Cold?
Dear Dr. Cory:
When we get a cold, why do our noses run?
When you catch a cold virus, your body tries to get rid of it by making clear mucus. That way, viruses wash down your throat or out of your body when you blow your nose, sneeze, or cough. After a few days the body’s white blood cells start fighting the cold and make the mucus turn white, yellow, or green. This is normal and does not mean that you need antibiotic (AN-ti-bi-OT-ic) medicine. Antibiotics only help illnesses caused by bacteria. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can be harmful.
White, yellow, or green mucus is a sign that white blood cells are fighting a cold virus.
Thick mucus plugs up the nose and sinuses. Drinking extra fluids with a cold helps to keep mucus thin.
Keep Yourself and Others Healthy
Throw away your tissues after you blow or wipe your nose and wash your hands! Both the tissues and your hands may be full of viruses! The more you wash your hands the less likely you will be sick.
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Disclaimer: The Ask Dr. Cory health information is for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to, and does not, provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always consult your family doctor when you have medical questions or concerns about you or your family's health. If this is an emergency, call 911, or contact emergency services in your area.