You’ve probably had it happen before: You’re walking to work, happily breathing in the crisp morning air, when suddenly you feel a tickle in your nose.
You go to scratch it and touch something sticky. What is it?! Is it blood? No, it’s black phlegm. But what causes black phlegm?
Smoking is a common cause of black mucus. In addition, smoking causes lung inflammation and infection, leading to lung cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.
● Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. Smoking is responsible for 90% of all deaths from this disease.
The risk of developing lung cancer increases with each cigarette smoked per day and each year you smoke.
● COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is an umbrella term for several lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
About 90% of COPD cases are caused by smoking, but other factors, such as exposure to dust or fumes at work (e.g., coal miners), high levels of air pollution, or genetics, may also contribute.
● Infections. Infections can cause black phlegm, especially if they’re bacterial or viral.
● More serious underlying condition. As with other symptoms accompanying black phlegm, black sputum may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition—cancer or lung disease.
Foreign Objects in the Nose
Foreign objects in your nose are a common cause of black phlegm. There are several ways to tell if you suspect that you have a foreign object in your nose.
● Take a look at the back of your throat in a mirror, and see if anything is obstructing the back of your throat. If so, try removing it with tweezers or an ear swab.
● Press gently on both sides of your nostril near where it meets the septum (the part that divides the left from right nostril).
If you feel pain or discomfort when doing this, there’s probably something obstructing airflow through one side of your nose. Try removing it with tweezers or an ear-swab.
If you can’t remove whatever may be causing black phlegm on your own, seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible!
The answer is yes if you’ve ever wondered if food coloring could cause black mucus.
Food coloring is made from chemicals, and eating a lot of food with food coloring could cause black mucus. Food coloring can be found in candy, desserts, and drinks.
It’s important to note that this isn’t as bad for you as smoking or drinking alcohol—but it’s still not good for you!
Non-Smoking-Related Causes of Black Phlegm
There are many non-smoking-related causes of black phlegm. It’s important to know what these are, as someone who smokes will likely have a different diagnosis than someone who doesn’t.
As mentioned above, allergies can cause you to produce black mucus. -This is the most common reason for it in adults and children who don’t smoke.
Asthma and chronic sinusitis are also common causes of black phlegm in people who don’t smoke.
Experience symptoms of post-nasal drip (a common condition that causes your nasal passages to become swollen), such as coughing up thick mucus or having trouble breathing through your nose. This could be one cause of your black phlegm production too.
Black mucus is usually nothing to worry about, but it can occasionally cause concern.
A variety of factors can cause black mucus. Smoking, infections in the upper respiratory tract, foreign objects stuck in your nose, and even food coloring are some common causes of black slime.
Things like this don’t always pose a serious threat to health, but they may cause discomfort or make it hard to breathe through one (or both) nostrils.
If you have black mucus and experience problems breathing regularly, consult with a doctor as soon as possible.
Other times when black mucus is a sign of something more serious include:
● Blood clots (a rare occurrence)
● Sinusitis or inflammation of sinuses that can result from allergies or other conditions
● A foreign body lodged deep within the nasal cavity (like an insect)
We hope this article has helped you to understand the different causes of black phlegm and how they can be treated.
We know that some of these conditions can be scary, but we’re here to tell you that they are not necessarily life-threatening.
If you find yourself struggling with any of these issues, it is essential to seek out medical attention as soon as possible so that a doctor can properly diagnose what is going on in your body.