There are different kinds of nose infections, and the symptoms vary depending on the cause. An infected nose often involves either a sinus infection, located in the sinuses and nasal passages, or an infection in the nostrils caused by blisters, infected piercings, ingrown hairs, or similar problems. A sinus infection is usually caused by allergies, virus, bacteria or fungus, and symptoms can include fever, nasal congestion, headache and facial tenderness. An infection in the nostrils can be caused by an outbreak of the herpes simplex virus, ingrown hairs, a cut, or a nose piercing. Symptoms usually include localized pain and swelling in the affected area, and sometimes pus discharge.
When an infected nose is caused by a sinus infection, also called sinusitis, the infection often begins with a regular cold or flu or an allergy outbreak. Nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, fever, and headaches are common early symptoms. The nasal congestion and inflammation of the sinuses inhibits the removal of the naturally occurring bacteria inside the nose. This can cause further inflammation and a nose infection with symptoms that include swelling, redness, pressure and pain where the sinuses are located, meaning in the eye, nose and cheek area.
Other symptoms of sinusitis include stinging in the nasal cavity, and a thick, green mucus discharge from the nose. Sometimes an infected nose can also lead to a reduced sense of taste and smell. Recommended treatments for a sinus infection include over-the-counter decongestants, pain relievers, and so-called expectorants that help thin the mucus. One should consult a doctor if the infection lasts longer than a week. Prolonged cases of sinusitis can indicate a bacterial infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics.
An outbreak of the herpes simplex virus can sometimes cause an infected nose, usually starting with a small, tender blister inside the nostril. Ingrown hairs inside the nostril can also cause nasal infection. Both conditions can usually be treated with antiseptic cream, but if the infections do not clear up, one should consult a doctor.
A nose piercing can also cause an infected nose if the pierced area is not cared for properly. Symptoms include redness, swelling and pain where the piercing was done. Sometimes there is also bleeding and a pus discharge. This type of infection can usually be cleared up by cleaning the affected area thoroughly with warm water and salt before applying hydrogen peroxide or another antiseptic cleanser. The ring or stud in the piercing should be removed and the piercing allowed to heal.