Staph Infection in the Nose: Symptoms, Risks & Treatment

Staph infection is a condition that should never be ignored as it can lead to fatal consequences if left untreated. This type of infection is caused by the staphylococcus bacteria. The most common of them is staphylococcus aureus. Staph infection in the nose can grow and spread, infecting the surrounding tissues and even affecting your brain.

These bacteria are present on almost every person’s skin and/or inside the nose, but they may not cause any harm if the individual is healthy. In the vast majority of cases, even when bacteria become active, they result in skin infections that can be treated using topical solutions with the addition of antibiotics if the case is severe.

However, staph infection can turn deadly very quickly, especially if bacteria can get inside your body through a wound caused either by injury or surgery. In this case, it will turn into an invasive infection which can affect your joints, heart lining, or even blood.


The symptoms are minor and can often go unnoticed as this condition usually occurs after a flu or cold. In the majority of cases, this disease is characterized by:

  • Presence of mucus (yellow to green) in nasal discharge – The occurrence of mucus is natural. It signifies that your immune system is working trying to protect your body from bacteria. Mucus should serve to cleanse your nasal cavity and prevent any infection from spreading any further.
  • Nasal congestion – Caused by too much mucus and inflammation. This symptom is not dangerous, but can be extremely unpleasant. There are many over-the-counter treatments that can relieve this condition and allow you to breathe properly. Tip: Ask your doctor for a suitable medication and avoid self-treatment if possible as some over-the-counter products can worsen the condition.
  • Fever – Caused by infection and can be rather high, but rarely life-threatening.
  • Pain of nasal membranes – Pain occurs due to the inflammation and minor damage the membranes suffer every time you blow your nose. In some cases, this can lead to nasal bleeding as blood vessels inside your nose are weakened by your condition.
  • Sore throat – This is an indication of the inflammation spreading along your mucous membrane. Like with stuffy nose, this symptom can be treated by topical medication (pills and sprays). However, they will only provide temporary relief and will quickly turn ineffective if the infection that causes this unpleasant sensation isn’t treated.
  • Skin symptoms – Even when you suffer from staph infection in the nose, some symptoms of the condition can show on your skin. Usually, they emerge in the shape of pimples or boils. However, in more severe cases, the following symptoms can occur:
    • Furuncles – It’s a type of boils that hurt, unlike ordinary pimples. They can break out anywhere on your skin, even inside the nose and cause a great deal of discomfort.
    • Carbuncles – This is a cluster of furuncles which usually appears under the skin and can lead to necrosis of the surrounding skin cells. It can be very painful and leave a scar or at the very least some pigmentation.
    • Cellulitis – This is a far more serious problem characterized by inflammation of the soft and connective tissues that can cause abscesses.
    • Abscess – It occurs in a cavity that appears in the soft tissues as a result of their disintegration caused by infection. An abscess is filled with pus and can be extremely painful. In the majority of cases, this problem will require immediate medical attention. You will need to undergo drainage to clean the pus from your tissues as you can’t start treatment before it’s removed.
    • Impetigo – This is a serious skin infection that is usually triggered by two factors. The first is the occurrence of a break in your skin. The wound can be tiny, but it is dangerous as long as the second factor comes into play.
      The second factor is staph bacteria from your nose somehow finding its way to the damaged area of skin. Impetigo causes small pustules that break and leak yellow exudate. The lesions can itch and the affected area will gradually grow until the original infection is cured.

Possible Risks

When nasal staph infection becomes invasive, your health and life are at a great risk. The majority of the conditions caused by this disease are fatal. Therefore, the patient requires immediate medical attention. Some of the problems this infection can lead to are:

  • Scalded skin syndrome – Staph infection produces toxins that cause blisters and high fever. Breaking of blisters is very painful and can cause the top layer of your skin to shed.
  • Toxic shock syndrome – This is another condition caused by the toxins produced as a result of infection. It develops suddenly and is characterized by high fever, confusion, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash on your palms and soles of your feet. Toxic shock syndrome is fatal.
  • Pneumonia – This condition occurs when the infection gets to your lungs. If left untreated, it can turn fatal. It is characterized by high fever, cough, heart rhythm disorders, and difficulties with breathing.
  • Osteomyelitis – If the staph infection gets inside your bones, you may need to amputate the affected part of the body in order to prevent it from spreading. This condition is extremely painful and difficult to treat.
  • Endocarditis – This infection affects your inner heart lining. It is fatal if not stopped immediately. Even then, it may have debilitating consequences.
  • Otitis media – This type of infection targets your inner ear. This disease is characterized by high fever and extreme pain, as well as headache and nausea. Possible consequence of suffering this particular condition is loss of hearing. If the infection is not stopped, the disease can turn fatal.
  • Sepsis – This condition is also known as blood poisoning. Its symptoms are high fever, tachycardia, hypotension, confusion, and loss of consciousness. In the majority of cases, this problem is fatal.

Staph Infection Treatment

This condition requires complex treatment because in the majority of cases, patients will require different kinds of medications for the infection itself and the symptoms it causes.

The most common treatments for this infection are:

  • Antibiotics – This is always the prime tool in fighting bacteria. Unfortunately, many people today suffer from strains of staphylococcus that are resistant to various types of antibiotics. In this case, patients are prescribed vancomycin.
  • Topical treatments – In case the infection currently dwells only inside your nose and doesn’t pose much danger, it can be dealt with by application of topical medications that contain antibiotics.