Does green snot mean bacterial?Created by:
Discoloured nasal mucous is commonly interpreted by both patients and physicians as a clinical sign for the presence of bacterial infection. I remember in university, it was drummed into us that yellow may be more likely bacterial, while green mainly indicated that the mucous was likely to be stasis mucous. Despite this, studies show that as health professionals, we are more likely to prescribe antibiotics when there is green mucous present. Other studies have demonstrated that the colour of mucous or discharge cannot be used to differentiate between viral and bacterial infections in otherwise healthy adults. It requires further assessment using other diagnostic measures such as fever, how unwell the patient appears to be, swab testing, and comorbidities. Although mucous colour may be a weak diagnostic marker, it cannot be used alone to confirm the suspicion of a bacterial infection or to base the decision on for or against antibiotic therapy. I would imagine it would not be black and white in a primary care setting. Therapeutic guidelines are always evolving. I would like your thoughts on this.