Staph Infections in the Nose

(Image: "April" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Isaac D (Isaac Dunne) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

According to the website About Infections, roughly 30 percent of Americas have nasal staph infections caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as staph. Many healthy people carry staph bacteria and don’t become ill. However, whenever skin is punctured or broken, staph bacteria can to enter a wound, causing infection, which can lead to other health problems. Although nasal staph infections usually aren’t dangerous, they’re inconvenient and annoying when they continue for long periods of time.


Nasal staph infections typically start as a side effect from a common cold or flu when a nose is already congested. Toward the end of the cold, the sinus cavity swells, reddens, stings and itches. Later symptoms may include facial pain and pressure, coughing, green nasal discharge and postnasal drip. Losing a sense of smell and taste may result in severe cases. A constant metallic taste in the mouth can occur if a patient is dehydrated.

Contributing Factors

Usually people with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to nasal staph infections. Other contributing factors may include diabetes, AIDS and poor diet. Allergies that are ongoing or chronic, such as being allergic to a fungus, can also cause a chronic nasal staph infection.

Nasal Skin Abscesses

Some of the most common type skin abscesses causing nasal staph infections include furuncles and carbuncles. Nasal furuncles, which are skin abscesses from staphylococcal infection, involve a single hair follicle and surrounding tissues. Carbuncles are clusters of furuncles which cause even deeper scarring. Nasal impetigo is another type of skin abscess occurring in the nasal passages.


Usually, nasal staph infections can be treated by applying antibiotic ointments such as Bacitraycin or Mupircin. According to the website, these ointments can be applied to the nose at bedtime. Inexpensive Bacitraycin ointment, which is an over-the-counter medication, can also be used in small amounts inside nostrils. However, doctors often prescribe the ointment Mupiricin, which is more expensive. In severe cases, the antiobiotic Vancomycin is needed, which is given intravenously.


Because nasal staph infections are highly contagious, close contacts with people suffering from a nasal staph infection should be avoided. Infections can spread by using common towels or sharing handkerchiefs and tissues. Therefore, good hygiene such as thoroughly washing hands with disinfectants, is important in avoiding contamination.

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