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Blisters in the Nose

Q: I get painful blisters on the inside of my nose that can last up to three weeks. Sometimes they hurt so much I can't even blow or scratch my nose. Eventually they heal on their own, but then another one pops up a few months later. What's causing this, and how can I get rid of them for good?

Dr. Donnica:
Without an examination, it's impossible to tell the cause of these blisters. Some people develop recurrent staphylococcal infections of the nasal hair follicles called folliculitis and should be treated with antibiotics. Another possibility (although much less common than folliculitis) would be cold sores (herpes simplex) or fever blisters. While these are far more common in and around the mouth, they can occur inside the nose. Prescription anti-viral creams or systemic medicines used to treat oral herpes simplex should also work here. Cold sores have a characteristic appearance: soon after they "break out," one can see several small, red bumps that are clustered together. They can and do resolve without therapy although as you've noted, they can be painful and this can take a while. I recommend that you consult your internist or family doctor for an examination. In the meantime, remember that herpes infections are very contagious.

Created: 3/4/2005  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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