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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

color of nasal discharge

02/14/2006

Question:

my 12 yr old daughter blew her nose today to find a clear ORANGE color! it was not mottled or a mix but a consistant very orange color. we`ve never seen anything like this before, what is the problem? we are having a very dry climate right now, and many of us have had a little blood mixed when we blow but this is very different.

Answer:

Orange is certainly an unusual color when associated with nasal discharge.  As you probably know, green or yellow generally is associated with a build up of nasal mucus, and may mean infection.  Blood tinged mucus may be associated with some crusting and slight bleeding from the nose.  Crusting is very common this time of year, when the humidity is low.

As mucus builds up around crusting, it can take on a funny color- this may mean some mild bacterial growth, and perhaps your daughter has a little dried blood along with this to produce an orange color.  Perhaps she was eating something with an orange color, ie candy, and inadvertently brought some colored saliva up through the nasopharynx and out the nose.

I would suggest that if it continues, it would be worthwhile to have her evaluated by an ear, nose, and throat physician.

 

 

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati