A staph infection is a bacterial infection that’s caused by Staphylococcus bacteria, which are fairly common in the environment.
An infection with staph bacteria can cause a variety of skin conditions, including:
These skin conditions aren’t contagious, but the bacteria that cause them are. The bacteria spreads through either person-to-person contact or touching a contaminated object, such as a doorknob.
Staph bacteria tend to hang out in your nasal passages, so your nose is a common site for a staph infection.
Common types of nasal staph infections include:
- Nasal vestibulitis. This is an infection of the front area of your nasal cavity. It may cause crusts and bleeding.
- Folliculitis. This is an infection of one or more hair follicles.
- Boils. Also called furuncles, a boil is a deeper infection around a hair follicle or oil gland that can drain pus if it breaks open.
Read on to learn more about staph infections in your nose, including common symptoms and how to treat them.
Potential symptoms of a staph infection in your nose include:
- light bleeding
- lesions that ooze pus or fluid
- pain or soreness
You probably come into contact with staph bacteria on a daily basis, but it doesn’t always cause an infection. If you have a break in your skin, though, such as a cut, scrape, or burn, the bacteria can enter your body and cause an infection.
There are several things that can cause a a break in the delicate skin inside your nose, including:
- excessive nose blowing
- picking your nose
- plucking or tweezing your nose hairs
- having a nose piercing
To confirm you have a nasal staph infection, it’s best to see your primary care provider. They’ll examine your nose and ask about your symptoms. They may collect a sample of tissue or nasal secretions to test in a laboratory to check for bacteria.
Testing can help check if the infection is caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a type of staph bacteria that’s resistant to many types of antibiotics, so it requires careful treatment.
Antibiotics treat staph infections. Your doctor might prescribe you oral antibiotics, a topical antibiotic ointment, or both.
If you have MRSA, your doctor will probably prescribe you a stronger antibiotic or even intravenous antibiotics if the infection is severe or not responding to treatment.
Make sure you take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor, even if you start to feel better before finishing them. Otherwise, you may not kill all of the bacteria, which can make them resistant to antibiotics.
If you have a large boil or other lesion, you may need to have it drained. Resist the urge to pop or drain it on your own. That can cause the infection to spread.
Mild staph infections often heal on their own without any treatment.
However, some staph infections can quickly become serious and cause certain complications, such as:
- Cellulitis. An infection occurs in the deeper layers of your skin.
- Cavernous sinus thrombosis. This rare but serious complication of nasal or facial infections involves the formation of a blood clot at the base of your brain.
- Sepsis. Potentially life-threatening, this condition is your body’s extreme response to an infection.
Staph bacteria are commonly present in our nasal cavity and on our skin. Usually, these bacteria are harmless. But they can cause an infection if they enter your body through a break in your skin.
If you notice an area in your nose that’s red or irritated, keep an eye on it. If it becomes painful or forms a pus- or fluid-filled bump or lesion, seek medical treatment to avoid a more serious infection.