When the fall season begins and the common cold is much more common, mucus is a hot topic. However, not many people understand that mucus production is normal and serves many purposes in your body.
Mucus is a sticky substance, often described as gelatinous; lining your throat, mouth, lungs, nose and sinuses. It is produced by your mucous membranes, which are in your nose and sinuses and it is essential in preventing the tissue in your lungs, throat, nasal and sinus passages from becoming dried out. Mucus also traps dust, pollen and other bacteria and allergens to keep them from spreading throughout your body; causing you to get sick.
If your mucus consistency is thicker than normal, it can be a sign that your mucous membranes are too dry. This can occur for a number of reasons including a dry indoor environment, not hydrating with enough water, and taking certain medications. If you are concerned about a cold or respiratory infection, see your healthcare provider.
While your body doesn’t produce more mucus when you’re sick, the consistency of mucus does change. Often times, your mucus will have a thicker consistency when you’re sick, whereas it normally slides down your throat in a watery consistency. When you’re sick, mucus can often build up in your lungs and throat, causing you to feel congested.
It’s always best to consult your primary care physician if you notice a change in the consistency of your mucus or you are noticing a buildup of mucus in your lungs or nostrils. With flu season around the corner, make sure you are also washing your hands frequently to control the spread of bacteria.
At Portneuf Primary Care, our providers can provide the care you need during this flu season or answer any questions you might have about common colds and symptoms. Visit portneufmedicalgroup.org for more information.