Green Mucus and Sinus Infection

Updated February 21, 2017

Sinus infections and sinusitis are often accompanied by the discharge of green mucus. Sinusitis can be caused by a number of things and is often accompanied by a variety of additional symptoms. Sinus infections and sinusitis can be treated in a number of ways, including antibiotics.


Green mucus from your sinuses is likely caused by an infection commonly referred to as sinusitis. Sinus infections are caused by either a bacterial or fungal infection of the sinus cavities. Common organisms that cause sinus infections include Moraxella catarrhalis, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae.

Risk Factors

A number of factors can increase your risk of sinusitis. Recent viral infections, like a cold or the flu, can make you more susceptible to sinus infections. Smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke, and exposure to air pollution can increase your risk of a sinus infection. Allergies can also increase the likelihood of a sinus infection.


In addition to discharging green mucus, a sinus infection can exhibit a number of other symptoms. One common symptom is nasal congestion that isn't helped by decongestants or antihistamines. Often, sinusitis is accompanied by a runny nose and postnasal drip. Sometimes headache, fever and bad breath are also symptoms of a sinus infection.


A doctor may diagnose sinusitis or a sinus infection after checking for pain and pressure in the face around the sinuses. A doctor can check the health of the sinuses by using a flashlight to see if the sinuses are blocked. In most cases, the doctor can diagnose sinusitis by looking at nasal discharge and establishing 10 days or more of green mucus discharge.


A number of treatments help sinus infections and sinusitis. Adequate hydration is key, and drinking plenty of fluids often helps the condition. Keeping a humidifier in the room can help loosen the sinuses and assist the body in fighting the infection. A doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to help the body fight the infection.

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About the Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.