Your nasal vestibule is the area inside your nostrils. It marks the beginning of your nasal passages. Nasal vestibulitis refers to an infection in your nasal vestibule, usually due to excessive nose blowing or picking. While it’s often easy to treat, it can occasionally lead to serious complications.

Keep reading to learn more about its symptoms, including what it looks like, and treatment options.

The symptoms of nasal vestibulitis vary based on the underlying cause and severity of the infection. Common symptoms include:

  • redness and swelling inside and outside your nostril
  • a pimple-like bump inside your nostril
  • small bumps around the hair follicles inside your nostril (folliculitis)
  • crusting in or around your nostril
  • pain and tenderness in your nose
  • boils in your nose

Nasa vestibulitis is usually caused by an infection involving Staphylococcus bacteria, which are a common source of skin infections. The infection usually develops as a result of a minor injury to your nasal vestibule, often due to:

  • plucking nasal hair
  • excessive nose blowing
  • picking your nose
  • nose piercings

Other potential underlying causes of an infection include:

In addition, a 2015 study also found that people taking targeted therapy drugs used to treat certain cancers had an increased risk of developing nasal vestibulitis.

Treating nasal vestibulitis depends on how serious the infection is. It’s best to check in with your doctor if you’re not sure how severe your case is. Most mild cases are treatable with a topical antibiotic cream, such as bacitracin, which you can find on Amazon. Apply the cream to your nasal vestibule for at least 14 days, even if your symptoms seem to go away before that. Your doctor might also prescribe an oral antibiotic just to be safe.

Boils tend to show up in more serious infections, which require both an oral antibiotic and a prescription topical antibiotic, such as mupirocin (Bactroban). You may also need to apply a hot compress to the area 3 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time to help drain large boils. In rare cases, your doctor may need to surgically drain a large boil.

More serious cases of nasal vestibulitis can sometimes lead to complications, especially because the veins in this area tend to lead directly to your brain.

Cellulitis

Cellulitus can occur when the infection spreads beneath your skin to other areas. Signs of nasal cellulitis include redness, pain, and swelling at the tip of your nose, which can eventually spread to your cheeks.

Other symptoms of cellulitis include:

  • skin that feels warm
  • dimpling
  • red spots
  • blisters
  • fever

If you think you might have cellulitis, call your doctor right away or go to an urgent care center to prevent it from spreading to more dangerous areas, such as your lymph nodes or bloodstream.

Cavernous sinus thrombosis

Your cavernous sinus is a space at the base of your brain, behind your eyes. Bacteria from infections in your face, including boils from nasal vestibulitis, can spread and cause a blood clot to form in your cavernous sinus, called cavernous sinus thrombosis.

Seek immediate treatment if you’ve had a nasal infection and notice:

  • a severe headache
  • severe facial pain, especially around your eyes
  • a fever
  • blurred or double vision
  • drooping eyelids
  • eye swelling
  • confusion

To treat cavernous sinus thrombosis, your doctor will likely start with intravenous antibiotics. In some cases, you may also need surgery to drain a nasal boil.

If you have nasal vestibulitis, you can reduce your risk of developing cavernous sinus thrombosis by:

  • regularly washing your hands before applying any topical antibiotics
  • not touching your nose unless you’re applying topical antibiotics
  • not picking at scabs in your nose
  • not squeezing pus from boils in or around your nose

Most cases of nasal vestibulitis are easy to treat with topical antibiotics. However, more severe infections may require both an oral and a topical antibiotic. While complications are rare, they can be very serious, so it’s best to follow up with your doctor if you have any kind of nasal infection to make sure you’re using the right antibiotics. Contact your doctor right away if you start to develop a fever or notice swelling, warmth, or redness around your nose.

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