From: "Steve Harris" <sbharris@ix.RETICULATEDOBJECTcom.com> Newsgroups: sci.med Subject: Re: Flu question Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 12:54:14 -0700 Message-ID: <email@example.com> "PF Riley" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message news:email@example.com... > On 15 May 2003 03:00:58 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Beverly Erlebacher) > wrote: > > >For a really cool discussion of what makes snot green, see > > > > http://www.newscientist.com/lastword/article.jsp?id=lw478 > > > >Oversimplified summary: it's the neutrophils breaking down all the > >bacteria and crud using iron containing peroxidases, the same reason > >wasabi is green. > > Good site. I did find the first suggestion that it's a combination of > the colors of S. aureus (gold) and P. aeruginosa (blue-green). If that's > the primary flora of your nose, you're in trouble! > > Yes, myeloperoxidases from white blood cells (WBCs) are responsible for > the green color of mucus. As the mucus flows freely from being secreted > by the glands that line that nasal mucosa, it is clear. But when mucus > sits in the nose long enough, the WBCs turn it green. > > For patients who ostensibly believe the notion that green mucus = > sinusitis, I explain the above to them, and ask if their mucus is green > in the morning (after sitting in their noses all night) and runs clearer > during the day. The answer is almost always yes, and this helps > elucidate the cause of the green mucus. > > PF COMMENT Sure enough, but I suspect you're not home free even with that sequence, since mucus from the sinuses can always be released later in the day. Anecdotally I've felt that happening to me once or twice, though I can't be sure since some ENT guy wasn't watching with a fibroptic gizmo at the time. I had a blocked maxillary sinus by the pain and unmistakable unilateral pounding pressure, followed in one case I remember by an actual "squeep!" sound of pressure relief inside my head, similar to the Eustachian clearing sound in scuba, followed by instant pain disappearance and then availability of dark green mucus that wasn't available before on nose blowing. Color of mucus isn't a perfect indicator of bacteria vs. virus, but there's no doubt at all that bacteria draw far more neutrophils than bacteria do. So sputum color is a datum to go into the pot for viral syndromes vs. viral syndromes with maybe secondary bacterial components. The problem with using this for *allergy* sufferers, of course, is that not just neutrophils, but also bulk amounts of *eosinophils*-- which allergic mucus is full of--- are green. Maybe greener than neutrophils. Their granules are stuffed with their own isoform of myeloperoxidase called eosinophill peroxidase (one that likes bromide use to make hyprobromous acid HOBr, which apparently is good for killing multicellular parasites). Eosinophil actual color is was a shocker for me in medical school, since I'd unthinkingly expected maybe that if eosinophils are any color, it would be eosin pink <g>. SBH
From: "Steve Harris" <sbharris@ix.RETICULATEDOBJECTcom.com> Newsgroups: sci.med Subject: Re: Flu question Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 20:44:36 -0700 Message-ID: <email@example.com> "Steve Harris" <sbharris@ix.RETICULATEDOBJECTcom.com> wrote in message news:firstname.lastname@example.org... > Color of mucus isn't a perfect indicator of bacteria vs. > virus, but there's no doubt at all that bacteria draw far > more neutrophils than bacteria do. Er, I mean of course, bacteria draw more neutrophils (which happen to be green) than viruses do. Myeloperoxidase's main function in neutrophils is to make hypochlorite (OCl-), which is the active stuff in chlorine bleach, chlorine water treatment, and the first good medical germicides of the 19th century. But nature discovered hypochlorite long before Semmelweiss and Dakin and Clorox did.