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By Casey De Farria
Casey De Farria
02 Mar, 2021

Green snot = infectious child. Or does it?

It is a point of contention for many, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Your kid has the slightest sign of a cold and you keep them at home, meaning another day of work missed. You take them to daycare/school when they are all clear, and see a little one running around with snot down to their chin. You feel a pang of annoyance, knowing you are trying to do the right thing.

If every child who had a slightly runny nose was kept home from daycare/school, they would be pretty empty most of the time! The common cold is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to avoid when it comes to children and school/daycare settings.

Many think when they see green snot it automatically means bacterial infection or highly contagious illness that needs antibiotics- but this isn’t necessarily the case. It is important to understand that a particular colour of snot doesn’t necessarily indicate that a child is more contagious or sick, or has a bacterial infection requiring antibiotics, – it just means that the body is fighting something (virus, bacteria or even allergy) and doing its job. Yes, that goes for clear AND green snot!

A child can be infectious with a clear runny nose, or at the end of their illness with some residual green snot! You just can’t tell by what colour the snot is.

In regards to being unwell during the current COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of Health stated recently – “it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering from a cold or other respiratory illness – not coronavirus.”

However, PLEASE get tested if you or your child do have symptoms though – if you aren’t sure, give your GP a call and follow their advice.

In regards to your child’s runny nose, it is always best to follow your gut, along with your child’s daycare guidelines, and to speak to your child’s teachers if you are unsure. Always seek medical help if you are concerned about your child’s health.

Check out the Harvard Health Blog ‘Don’t judge your Mucous by its’ colour‘ and CELA’s article, ‘Wrangling Runny Noses in a COVID-19 Pandemic‘ for more.

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