Nasal discharge can be unilateral or bilateral. It usually accompanies nasal obstruction. The discharge may be characterized as follows:

Thin and watery Thick and purulent

• Foul smelling

A thin and watery discharge is usually caused by excess mucus production resulting from a viral infection or allergic condition. A thick and purulent nasal discharge results from bacterial infection. A bloody discharge can result from a neoplasm, trauma, or an opportunistic infection such as mucormycosis (fungal disease). A foul-smelling discharge is often associated with foreign bodies in the nose, chronic sinusitis, or malignant disease. A clear, watery discharge that is increased by bending the head forward or by coughing is suggestive of cerebrospinal fluid leakage.

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