If you struggle against treating sores in nose, on the lips, or in the mouth, then you probably already know how embarrassing and inconvenient such a condition can be. Sores that fail to heal or that go away only to be quickly replaced by a fresh sore can diminish your enjoyment of everyday things, like eating a salty snack or drinking a citrus juice. Even breathing through your nose or sneezing can become painful actions. If you have sores in the nose or mouth then keep reading to learn what may be causing the sores to develop and how they can be treated and/or prevented.
Ah, the infamous staphylococcus bacteria, or “staph” as it is known on the streets. The staphylococcus bacteria is one of the most common types of bacteria found on the surface of human skin. It’s pretty much everywhere and, for the most part, it doesn’t cause any issues unless it makes its way inside the body. If you have sores in the nose, around your mouth, and even on your lips, then there’s a good chance that you have a staph infection known as impetigo. You may have heard of this infection before because it’s actually pretty common—exceedingly so among young school-aged children. With impetigo, the bacteria can be transmitted directly or indirectly, meaning that you could have contracted the bacteria through direct hand-to-hand contact with an infected individual or you could have touched something, such as a door knob, that had been previously infected with staph bacteria by another individual.
The primary symptom of impetigo is the development of sores that start out as a bright red color but quickly turn to a blister-like lesion. Once the sore bursts it will form a yellow or brown-colored crusty scab that, when removed, will expose red, weeping tissue. Most cases of impetigo are mild and rather than the sores being painful they tend to be surprisingly itchy. Those with severe cases of impetigo, in which the lesions are particularly big or cover a large portion of skin, might experience pain when the sores are touched. Severe impetigo can lead to the sores becoming ulcer-like.
Impetigo is typically treated using an oral antibiotic or a topical antibiotic ointment. For sores in the nose, you might be prescribed a strong antibiotic cream called Bactroban. Bacterial infections can be very stubborn, especially when they are located in an area that is difficult to reach, such as high up into the nasal passages. Be persistent with the treatment and keep using it for as long as the directions suggest or for as long as your doctor recommends.
Herpes is another possible cause for sores in the nose, mouth, and around the lips. The sores that are produced by the herpes virus are better known as ‘cold sores.’ You might be surprised how many people are unaware that cold sores are caused by the herpes virus and that oral herpes, which produces cold sores on the face and mouth, can be transmitted to other areas of the body—namely the groin area. Herpes is usually first contracted when the virus is allowed into the body via an open wound or through direct contact with the mouth, such as sharing lip balm with someone that has an active herpes infection.
The primary symptom of herpes is the formation of sores on the face, especially around the mouth. Herpes outbreaks can also occur around the nose. The first signs of a herpes outbreak usually involve tingling or itching sensations on the face where the outbreak will soon occur. Within about 24 hours the tingling sensation will be followed by the formation of small blisters that group together in a cluster. The blisters will eventually pop to form a large open wound. The sore will weep or “ooze” liquid until it eventually crusts over and heals. Other symptoms that can occur with a herpes outbreak include headache, muscle and joint pains, swollen glands in the neck, and fever.
Once contracted, this kind of herpes virus is incurable. It may remain dormant in your body for long periods of times—even years—without the occurrence of an outbreak, but there is nothing that can be done to guarantee that you will never have an outbreak in the future. There are, however, over the counter treatment options in the form of topical creams that are designed to shield the sore and promote healing.
Folliculitis is another common cause of sores in the nose and around the face—especially in men. Folliculitis is caused by damage done to a hair follicle, causing it to become inflamed. The symptoms of folliculitis include redness, swelling, and pain around a hair follicle. Over time the hair follicle can form a blister-like sac that, if popped, may ooze liquid.
The most common causes for folliculitis on the face are shaving, exposure to rough clothing, and the use of masks or other facial devices. This condition can be treated by applying a warm compress to the sore, which will encourage the liquid and bacteria within the follicle to move upwards where it can drain more efficiently. Where the follicle is unreachable, such as inside the nose, then the best treatment option would be an antibiotic.