What are Common Causes of Yellow Mucus?

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  • Written By: Sarah Sullins
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2016
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Generally, when a person begins to experience yellow mucus, it is because his body is trying to fight off some type of infection or virus. Some of the most common causes of it are sinus infections, colds, flu, and bronchitis. This color of mucus may also be the result of an allergic reaction to something in a person’s environment. Dryness in the air or nasal polyps can also cause yellow mucus to develop in some people. On occasion, candida albicans may cause this substance to develop in nasal passages.

There are a few different colors of mucus that a person may experience during his lifetime, and each one will indicate that something is going on within the body. These variations in mucus may show that the body is healthy and able to easily get rid of an infection, or may indicate the presence of common viruses or bacteria, such as the ones that cause colds or sinus problems. Many times, a person will experience clear, yellow, green, white, and brown mucus sometime in his life. Green generally indicates the same thing as yellow does, but may also indicate an upper respiratory infection.


The sinuses produce mucus continually. It is something that is used to fight off infections within the body, and to moisten the air that a person breathes in. Yellow mucus in the sinus cavity is also used to clean the air that is breathed in, and, in turn, keep the sinuses healthy. A certain amount of mucus is need to trap dust or bacteria that threatens to cause problems in the sinus cavity.

Colds, influenza, and dry air can all cause yellowish mucus to develop. Many times, drinking more water can help a person get rid of excessive amount of it caused by these issues. Certain over-the-counter medications may be used to get rid of congestion as well. Home or herbal remedies, such as a steam inhalation, can help to reduce the amount of yellow mucus that a person develops. Excessive amounts of mucus that last for more than a week may require the attention of a doctor.

Phlegm is sometimes confused with mucus, but the two are very different. Mucus is produced in the nasal cavities, sinuses, the lining of the bronchi, the lining of the trachea, and the lining of the bronchioles. Phlegm, however, is only produced in a person’s lungs. Coughing up phlegm may indicate a serious problem within the body.


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Post 4

@lighth0se33 – Yes, it can. Your body reacts to the dust like it's an allergen, and you will soon develop yellow mucus in your nose.

I was cleaning out a very dusty utility room that hadn't been cleaned in years, and after a couple of hours in there, I began to cough like I had bronchitis or something! My nose started running, and by the next day, I was blowing out yellow mucus, as well as coughing up yellow phlegm.

That mucus surrounded the dust particles in both my lungs and my nose and helped escort them out of my body. It wasn't really an infection, but without the mucus to help me, it could have turned into one.

Post 3

Can exposure to a lot of dust in the air cause yellow nasal mucus? Three days ago, there was a dust storm in the parking lot outside my office, and I breathed a lot of it in. I've been having yellow mucus ever since.

Post 2

I get a really runny nose for a few days when I have a cold. At that point, my mucus isn't yellow, but when it starts to dry up a little and my nose becomes super congested for about a week, it turns yellow. After this, I'm usually dealing with both yellow mucus and a cough.

Since colds are caused by viruses, I don't go to the doctor, because there really isn't any treatment they can give me. I just drink plenty of fluids and get bed rest, and I take over the counter decongestants.

Post 1
I don't normally have yellow mucus. However, when I get a sinus infection, I get bright yellow mucus that borders on yellow-green.

It is usually pretty dry, and it clogs up my sinuses. When I blow my nose, part of it will come out, but I usually have to yank on it to get it all out, since it is stuck inside my nostrils.

Sinus infections can make you pretty miserable. If I have one that lasts longer than two weeks, I will go to the doctor for some antibiotics, because that is the only thing that will make it go away. You can try to tough out a sinus infection, but it will win in the end.

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