Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as staph, is a bacteria that can cause severe infections on the skin and in the body. Many people are surprised to learn that these bacteria often live harmlessly on the skin, particularly around the nose, mouths and genitals.
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When Infection Occurs
For those who carry staph bacteria in their nose, touching the nose, then transferring this bacteria to a wound or cut can cause a minor to serious skin infection. This bacteria also can be transferred from one person to another.
A staph infection in the nose may begin as a swollen or painful lump, particularly around a nose hair follicle. The nose area may also swell, turn red or feel warm to the touch.
Notify a Doctor
While some staph infections can be minor, those accompanied by a fever, swelling or a pus-filled boil or lump in the nose require immediate medical care.
Often staph bacteria in the nose do not respond to antibiotic pills or injections. Instead, a physician often prescribes a topical antibiotic ointment to be applied to the skin. The ointment should be applied inside each nostril several times per day.
While staph bacteria may be commonplace inside the nose, the best prevention for infections is frequent hand-washing after touching the nose. People also should refrain from wiping discharge from their nose onto their skin.
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