When inflammation affects the nose and/or the sinuses, your nose will run, because the nose and sinuses will produce additional mucus to try to wash away the offending agent whether infection, allergy or irritating particle like smoke, car exhaust, or pollution. An increase in nasal discharge can make you feel like you have to continually wipe your nose, or it can increase the amount of normal postnasal drip and make you feel like you are drowning in mucus or choking. It can also make you feel so stuffy that you need to clear your nose.
The nasal discharge is clear if you have a viral infection or you
experience an allergic flare-up; however, when bacteria cause the inflammation, the mucus will become discolored. It can be milky white, yellow, green, brown, or any mixture. If mold is causing the inflammation, the mucus will most often be discolored with black, white, or green particles, similar to the mold that grows on bread, cheese, or fruit. Fungi can also look like axle grease.
Inflamed sinuses produce mucus that is different from normal mucus. Whatever the color, infected mucus is thick and sticky; often its consistency can be described as gelatinous. The pH of the mucus also changes, becoming more acidic. This occurs as a result of the substances that are released to fight infection, reduce inflammation, and/or react to allergens. The mucus can also look and feel like the jelly that is found around refrigerated fish, or it can look like apricot jelly or egg drop soup. It can also feel like rubber cement glue, or axle grease.