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Cold, nose blowing, purple mucus, coughing, pain in teeth, sore cheek. What does the purple discharge mean?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
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Hi, I caught a cold the week before last. It progressed to a lot of nose blowing. Last week I started to notice that when I blew my nose, sometimes there was purple in my tissue (definitely not red, like blood. This was truly purple). I also started to cough. Last night I was on an airplane and while I was in the air I had serious pain inmy right cheek that radiated down to my teeth. Today, my right cheek feels stiff and my teeth feel a lot of pressure making them very sore. I can't chew on that side of my mouth. That side of my face now hurst when I try to blow my nose. And lastly, I've been getting headaches (and I am not usually prone to headaches). My questions are 1) what does the purple discharge mean and 2) What shoud I do about the pain in my cheek and teeth? Should I see my general practioner? Or go to an ENT doctor?
Thank you.
Posted Fri, 20 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 1 hour later

Thanks for the query

1. The purplish like discharge from the nose could be the mixture of the serum of the blood and the infected nasal secretions.

2. After going through the history, it appears to be you are suffering from Eustachian tube (the tube connecting nose and the ear) catarrh, followed by development of negative pressure inside the ear, giving rise to acute pain in the cheek and the teeth.

Whenever there is any nasal infection we should never go by flight or for diving, the reason is the occurrence of barotrauma secondary to the blockage of the Eustachian tube. Due to nasal infection there is swelling around the nasal end of the Eustachian tube, this leads to blockage of the Eustachian tube causing negative pressure inside the middle ear. When you fly with a blocked Eustachian tube, the negative pressure in the middle ear increases and there will be development of acute pain in the ear which will radiate to the jaw and to the affected side of the head.

Do not worry; it is one of the common ENT problems, this will usually subside with appropriate treatment. You can try doing steam inhalation 2-3 times a day, use saline nasal spray for nasal decongestion and mild anti-inflammatory medicines (such as Diclofenac or Ibuprofen) for pain relief. If the symptoms do not subside within 3-4 days, please consult a good ENT Specialist for a complete evaluation and management.

Hope I have answered your query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
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