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is the colour of mucus an indicator of infection??
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is the colour of mucus an indicator of infection??


I am 25, female, relatively healthy.

In the last 10 days, I'm down with what i believe to be a common cold. It started as a sore throat, then i had a runny nose, then some low grade fevers and now I feel okay apart from one thing:

my congested nose.

My nose is extremely congested. My problem is that, unless i strain really bad when i blow it, nothing comes out. It makes my mouth really dry, it causes pressure behind my eyes and i get horrible headaches and minor earaches from it. I use saline 3 times a day to dehydrate it and I inhale on viks to relieve the pressure i am experiencing. An extra worry is that my mucus is thick and yellow/green. In the past days (and usually when i get a cold), it was watery and transparent/whitish.

I called my doctor and he said that it might be indicative of a secondary infection like a sinus infection. He told me to give it another 48 hours and if it doesn't get better, i should go and get checked.

Could a sinus infection start from such a minor cold?

I thought that only children got sinus infections!. Also, from what i saw online, a sinus infection is usually accompanied by fevers etc. I am okay, apart from my congested nose and my greenish snot!

what should i do now?

let it heal on its own? use some home treatments? or go to the doctor?
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It sounds like you have a sinus infection. I have severe seasonal allergies that will sometimes turn into a cold, which can turn into an infection. I normally get sinus infections 1-2 times a year. It always starts with coldlike symptoms. Runny nose, coughing, congestion. Then it will turn into severe pressure behind my eyes and I will only have congestion w/fever and fatigue. I know that mucus when infected can cause greenish, yellow discharge. I don't think it will always cause a change in color. I had a sinus infection about a month ago and my nasal drip was clear. It also caused a constant cough at night while trying to sleep. You should see a doctor and have them look in your nose to see if nasal cavities are swollen. They can prescribe antibiotics that normally clear it up within a week. If you let it go, and it is an infection, it can get worse causing infection in ears and lungs as well. I hope this information has helped. I have alot of experience with infections. I hope you feel better!
Yes, typically  most sinus infections start after a cold.  If you think of the 'gunk' or mucus being trapped and not moving and left to fester (nice visual), that is when a bacterial infection starts and that is the difference between sinusitis and a cold.  A cold is a virus that a person can pass to another, an infection is something going on in  your own body that you can not pass along.  

I would double your fluid intake and try some over the counter mucinex. This helps thin that mucus.   And if it is a true sinus infection, then antibiotics will make you feel better in about 48 hours of starting it.  

Your basic question-------- green or yellow mucus indicats that there is pus in it and there is an infection.  However, I will say that my kids and I will get this type of mucus at the tail end of a cold and not have an infection----  so I think, based on my own family, that it doesn't always indicate infection.  However, with your other symptoms, it very well could in your case.  
good luck and hope you feel better
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