Staph infection in nose refers to a condition wherein the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus penetrates injured tissues in the nasal passages and prompts an infection in the area. Most people who are otherwise normal and healthy inherently house some levels of Staphylococcus aureus bacterial specimens in the skin tissues or within the nasal tract, which is generally harmless.
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However, when the skin inside the nose becomes wounded or gets cut/scraped from forceful motions such as scratching and picking inside the nostrils very hard or using tweezers rather harshly to remove hair inside the nose, it results in wide broken openings and dents on the surface inside the nasal passages. This induces staph infection to develop in the nose in a mild manner initially, which if left untreated, could then invade into deeper skin tissues and manifest in a severe way, at times even leading to life-threatening infections.
Woman with staph infection

Causes Of Staph Infection In Nose:

A staph infection in the nose develops primarily due to impairment of skin tissues within the nasal tract, which can be triggered by:

  • Picking the nose in a rash manner
  • Injury around the nostrils or within the nasal tract, as well as infection/inflammation from sinusitis
  • Frequently rubbing the inner regions of the nose
  • Pulling out nasal hairs using a tweezer or plucking them out harshly
  • Contamination of open skin areas after nose piercings

Symptoms And Complications:

The characteristic symptoms of staph infections in the nose include:

  • Intense pain, swelling in the nose
  • The skin around the nostrils becomes red due to inflammation
  • Bleeding from the nose i.e. epistaxis
  • Swelling up of the face
  • Pus-filled boils and crusting i.e. flaking of the skin in the nose
  • Sneezing often with headaches
  • Chills and fever

Also Read: Chills: Know The Causes And Indications Associated With This Shivering Sensation

If left unattended, staph infections in the nose can spread to the bloodstream, infect deep internal cells and tissues and prompt serious health consequences, such as:

  • Pneumonia, which is inflammation of the lungs triggered by infection
  • Endocarditis, that induces pain and swelling in the heart valves
  • Facial cellulitis, which is an infection that afflicts the interior skin tissues
  • Cavernous sinus thrombosis, which arises from blood clots in the cavernous sinuses situated between the brain and eye sockets
  • Potentially fatal conditions like sepsis and toxic shock syndrome, that occur from vast amounts of toxins accumulating in the blood

Also Read: Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Diagnosis And Treatment:

The doctor enquires about the symptoms encountered by the patient, as well as if they have faced any injury in the region of the nostrils in the recent past. Then, an external physical examination of the nose is done, to look for signs of open wounds, boils, damaged skin. A sample of skin tissue, fluid secretions from the nasal tract is also collected and examined in the laboratory to identify any possible signs of infection and inflammation and probe if Staphylococcus bacteria is the causative factor of the infection in the nose.

Treatment for staph infection in the nose depends upon the severity and duration of symptoms. If only minor pain and discomfort arise and subside in a few days, no treatment is required and the staph infection within the nasal tract gets remedied by itself. If the staph infection persists with worsening symptoms of swelling, bleeding in the nose, then the healthcare provider prescribes oral antibiotics, to combat the bacterial pathogen and cure the condition.

Furthermore, to mend the accompanying symptoms of boils, pus and crusting in the nose, the medical expert advises the patient to gently press a clean warm cloth/towel against the region to pacify swelling and soreness. Since the staph infection can spread by direct contact from the infected person to a healthy individual, the doctor advises the patient to wash their hands with soap and water on a regular basis, use a hand sanitiser while travelling or in public places and not share their personal belongings with others. The physician advises the patient to avoid picking their nose often and tweezing out nasal hairs to avert recurrence of staph infection in the nose.