Aug 29, 2016

Dr. Gellner: Noses can be pretty gross snot factories. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner and today on The Scope I'll discuss the old wives' tails about the stuff that comes out of your child's nose.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering the Healthy Kids Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner, on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: Number one. Mucus. Green means infection, yes or no? Not necessarily and in fact the presence of green mucus may indicate that your child's body is actually fighting off a cold. Unless there are other symptoms and your child has been sick for over three weeks, it's probably still all viral and so antibiotics are not the right choice.

Number two. Bloody mucus. My child has cancer or a bleeding disorder. Highly unlikely. Now, if your child has other symptoms that are concerning, your doctor may want to do more tests, but we see bloody noses all the time. The biggest causes of bloody noses are dryness in the nose, mucus irritation, allergies, and kids picking their noses.

Number three. There's puss coming out of one side of my child's nose. Well, chances are pretty high that your child stuck something up their nose that isn't supposed to be there. Kids are notorious for putting random things in weird places. I've even seen Play-Doh in an ear.

For some reason, kids stick things up their noses and then those things get stuck. Usually these are small toys, peas, cherry pits, even screws. Sometimes your pediatrician can get it out. Sometimes a trip to the ER is needed. And sometimes it's so far up there and has been there so long that the ear, nose, and throat specialists need to get involved. This is the one time where often antibiotics are given to help take care of an infection caused by the inappropriately placed object.

Number four. Drinking milk while your child has a cold, causes more mucus. While many people swear milk produces mucus, that effect can't be explained by science. In fact, several studies that have actually measured peoples' mucus production after drinking milk, have found no statistical significance when compared to mucus production in the non-milk drinking crowd. Scientists think that people feel like there is more mucus due to the viscosity of milk being thicker than other liquids, causing the sensation of post-nasal drainage from mucus.

So no matter what's coming out of your child's nose, you may hear a lot of things. But if you really want the honest answer, speak to your child's pediatrician.

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