Mucus, Snot, and Booger Colors: What is Normal for Kids?

Booger colors - what is normal and when to worry

Mucus – also known as snot or boogers – is a normal part of the body. But what if it changes color? What do booger colors tell us about our health?

Mucus is everywhere

First of all, you have to understand that mucus is a slimy substance that covers and protects the inside of your organs.

Mucus is ALL OVER the inside of your body!

Is that gross or pretty cool? Or maybe a bit of both?

What does mucus do?

Mucus has a few important jobs in your amazing human body:

  • It acts like lotion inside your nose, mouth, and lungs.
  • It traps dirt, dust, and germs so that they can’t get into the body.
  • It has white blood cells that fight things that bother the body.
Immune System white blood cells

Different booger colors and what they mean

Normal booger colors and what do other colors mean about health

Clear mucus

Normal mucus is thin with no color.

If the nose and airways get irritated from allergies or infection, the body makes more mucus. Boogers can start to get stringy and runny.

White, yellow, or green mucus

When the nose gets irritated and the body makes more white blood cells, boogers can suddenly get thick, uncomfortable, and change color.

Most of the time, this is caused by a virus.

Pink or red mucus

Dry air, like from a heater, and nose-picking can cause blood-tinged boogers. This happens to a lot of kids!

How to get nose booger colors back to normal

Clear runny boogers

Check with your doctor to find out the cause of clear runny mucus.

  • If it’s allergies, a steroid nose spray can often make kids feel a lot better.
  • If it’s a virus, it usually gets better in a few days or a little over a week.

White, yellow, or green-colored boogers

Kids with white, yellow, or green boogers will usually get better in around a week, because the body’s immune system can fight off a virus.

  • Shower steam, humidifier, and saline (salt water) drops or spray can help a stuffy nose feel better.
  • If boogers worsen, stick around for more than 10 days, and/or come with a high fever, this MIGHT mean there’s bacterial infection…
  • As always, check with your doctor!

Pink or red-tinged boogers

  • A humidifier and saline drops or spray can help with dryness.
  • Keeping hands busy can help break a nose-picking habit, too!

More interesting facts about the human body

Human Body Learning Lab Hardcover Book

Updated on July 12, 2023 by Betty Choi, MD

Updated on July 12, 2023

by Betty Choi, MD