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What are the Symptoms of a Staph Nasal Infection?

By K. Gierok
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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While small amounts of the staph bacteria live in the nasal cavities of all adults, in individuals with a weakened immune system, increased amounts of the bacteria can lead to a serious health condition known as a staph nasal infection. This condition is typically accompanied by swelling of the nasal passages, a tender feeling in the face and cheeks, and severe coughing that often gets worse at night. Congestion often accompanies the disease, as does fatigue and headache.

One of the most common symptoms of staph nasal infections in a swelling of the nasal passages. This typically results in a blockage of normal mucus drainage and flow, and can lead to severe congestion if not treated quickly. In addition, the mucus that is associated with staph infections is relatively thick, and is of a yellow or greenish color as opposed to the traditional clear or white shade of healthy mucus.

Those who are suffering from staph infections in the nose will typically also experience high amounts of tenderness in the face and cheeks. This is often accompanied by headaches that range from moderate to severe. The pressure associated with these headaches typically manifests itself near the temples and ears.

Patients with staph nasal infections may also experience coughing that gets worse at night. In addition, they often have a very sore and raspy voice, and in some cases may even develop bad breath. Those stricken with staph infections also often suffer fatigue, and may have a slight fever and nausea. A general sense of irritability is also a common sign associated with staph.

While staph infections can cause serious distress to those afflicted, the treatment for the condition is relatively simple. In fact, most staph nasal infections will actually clear up on their own. Individuals who are experiencing a sustained staph infection or whose symptoms are not improving typically are encouraged to increase their sleep and fluid consumption.

In addition, people with a nasal infection are often instructed to use hot, moist compresses and take mild, over-the-counter painkillers. Some specific antibiotics may be recommended by individuals who are experiencing a very severe staph nasal infection. As with any contagious disease, the best way to prevent the spread of staph is through following basic hand sanitation guidelines.

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Discussion Comments

By anon926397 — On Jan 18, 2014

@chrisinbama: Get the doctor to sample the thick mucus and send to the lab for testing. For 10 months, I've been dealing with an undiagnosed sinus congestion, described as above. ENT sent me for surgery, but within three weeks, the full symptoms re-appeared. He was an idiot, frankly wrong.

Up to that time, there were no lab tests, so I demanded blood and mucus lab tests from my GP. He was doubtful. Results came back and he was shocked with the positive result for heavy staph aureus infection. It all makes sense now. Along with the described symptoms, I also have heavy ear pressure and tinnitus. Its terrible. Hopefully, the antibiotic course will clear this up, albeit, very slowly, not nearly fast enough. Still, at last, I have a diagnosis.

By OceanSwimmer — On Jun 05, 2011

@chrisinbama- Many times, staph in the nose or nasal passages will not present with any symptoms. However, in cases like your sister’s, it is obvious that something is going on. She needs to talk to her physician and have a nasal swab done. From that, if the culture grows staph, there is definitely an infection.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an alarming situation. Many people have staph living in their nasal passages and don’t even know it. If it is determined that your sister has the staph, her doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics. The antibiotic ointments can be applied in the nose with a cotton swab.

By chrisinbama — On Jun 04, 2011

My sister has been experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned in the article. Her nasal passages are swollen and she stays congested. She just recently started the coughing. I've been concerned about her but she tries to blow it off and say that it is just her allergies.

How would we know if she has staph infection in her nose?

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