What’s causing those Symptoms?

There’s a good chance mucus could be behind your misery. Scroll down or pick a topic below.

mucus rocks

What color mucus is normal?

Many people believe that the color of your mucus will tell you what kind of infection you have. This just isn’t true.

green, yellow, or clear?
When you’re sick, it’s possible to have clear, yellow, or green mucus.

In fact, you usually produce clear mucus at the beginning of your illness. As your body starts to fight off whatever’s bothering it, your mucus changes color. Yellow and green hues may be caused by certain bacteria, or come from the enzymes your white blood cells release when they’re fighting an infection.

Mucus Color

Mucus Color
Time of Day
Your mucus may even change color throughout the day.

It can be one color in the morning but clearer in the afternoon. (This is because mucus accumulates and dries while we sleep, but once you start moving around, your mucus can flow normally again.)

Time of Day

So while the color can’t tell you exactly why you’re sick, it’s still a sign that something might be up.

Juniors

Is Mucus Causing Your Kid's Symptoms?

Maybe it’s just a tickly throat or maybe it’s a full-blown cold— this section is dedicated to helping you find what your sick youngsters need.

You’ll find Fever 101, important medication reminders and tips on when to call their pediatrician.

Or click here to browse Children’s Mucinex® products.

Mr.Mucus

What does mucus do?

Your mouth, nose, throat, sinuses and lungs are lined with mucus membranes. These membranes contain mucus glands that produce—surprise—mucus.

Mucus-producing membranes line specific passages in your body, like the respiratory and digestive tracts, for protection and support.

Mucus is a mixture of water, sugars and proteins (and other things that have long, scientific names). But even though this slippery, gooey liquid is far from glamorous, it plays an important role in your health.

The mucus that’s produced in your respiratory tract has 3 important jobs:

  • Mucus protects. Mucus moistens and warms inhaled air and keeps the mucus membrane cells and the little hairs called “cilia” lubricated. (These little hairs line the top layer of mucus membrane cells.) Cilia help to remove inhaled particles that have gotten trapped by the mucus layer covering the cilia. They need to stay moist to do their job.
  • Mucus acts as a barrier. Mucus traps inhaled particles (like dust, allergens, bacteria, or viruses) and keeps them from getting deeper into your lungs. Mucus also keeps them from invading the cells lining your airway and entering your system. The cilia transport the mucus layer toward your throat, where it could either get spit out or swallowed.
  • Mucus defends your body. Mucus contains antibodies, enzymes, and proteins that work to help get rid of whatever's in the air you've inhaled that could make you sick.

But sometimes, the mucus layer in your airways lets something slip by or is overwhelmed by the amount of particles inhaled. This could be bacteria, a virus that’s getting passed around, or an allergen (like pollen) that will aggravate your respiratory tract.

One of the ways your body might react to an irritant or an infection is by producing more mucus. Your mucus may get thicker and change color, too. Just one way your body attacks the thing that’s making you sick.

Mucus is a mixture of water, sugars and proteins (and other things that have long, scientific names). But even though this slippery, gooey liquid is far from glamorous, it plays an important role in your health.

mr. mucus

How do Mucinex® products relieve symptoms

Each Mucinex® product contains one or a combination of medicines to relieve your most annoying symptoms.

See the table below for an explanation of all the types of medicines Mucinex® products contain to help you feel better. Check the product labeling for more important information about these ingredients.

Mucinex
name   What is it?   What does that mean?   What symptoms does it relieve?   How does it work?
Guaifenesin Expectorant Loosens mucus making it easier for you to cough it up. Chest congestion Guaifenesin loosens mucus and helps make your cough more productive.
Dextromethorphan HBr Antitussive (or cough suppressant) Decreases the urge to cough. Cough Dextromethorphan works in the brain to suppress your cough reflex.
Pseudoephedrine HCl Nasal decongestant (taken orally) Decreases swelling of your nasal passageways so you can breathe easier. Stuffy nose
Sinus congestion
Sinus pressure
Pseudoephedrine reduces swelling of blood vessels in your nasal passages to decrease congestion and increase drainage.
Phenylephrine HCl Nasal decongestant (taken orally) Decreases swelling of your nasal passageway so you can breathe easier. Stuffy nose
Sinus congestion
Sinus pressure
Phenylephrine reduces swelling of blood vessels in your nasal passages to decrease congestion and increase drainage.
Acetaminophen Analgesic (pain reliever)
Antipyretic (fever reducer)
Reduces fever and relieves minor aches and pain from headaches, colds, sore throats and more. Fever
Headache
Sore throat
Acetaminophen employs several mechanisms to interfere with pain signals.
Diphenhydramine HCl Antihistamine
Cough suppressant
Blocks the histamine receptor and cholinergic pathways. Runny nose
Sneezing
itchy and watery eyes
and itching of the nose, throat and roof of the mouth.
Diphenhydramine (DPH) blocks the histamine H1 receptor. (Histamine is a chemical that causes inflammation and sneezing.) DPH may also work through another mechanism to dry your runny nose and calm your cough.
Oxymetazoline HCl Topical nasal decongestant Opens up your nasal passageways so you can breathe easier. Stuffy nose
Sinus congestion
Sinus pressure
Oxymetazoline narrows blood vessels in your nasal passages to decrease congestion and increase drainage. Comes as a nasal spray.
Fexofenadine Antihistamine Non-Drowsy Blocks the histamine receptor without causing drowsiness. Runny nose
Sneezing
itchy and watery eyes
and itching of the nose, throat and roof of the mouth.
Fexofenadine blocks the histamine H1 receptor. (Histamine is a chemical that causes inflammation and sneezing.)
Maybe it's allergie

maybe it’s not a cold - Maybe it’s allergies

The nose that never stops running. The constant sneezing. The ever-watering eyes. If these things never seem to go away, then they might very well be allergies.

Check out this section to learn about allergies and what you can do to treat them.