Pus in the nose is caused by a bacterial infection. A nose infection can be caused by sinusitis, a nose piercing or infection of a hair follicle. Other symptoms that may accompany pus in the nose include nasal discharge, nasal congestion and sinus pain. Headache, fever, chills and body aches may accompany the presence of pus in the nose and are signs of a systemic infection. To reduce the risk of infection and resultant pus in the nose, post piercing care should be carried out per instructions and the health care provider called at the first sign of pus in the nose.
Symptoms of pus in the nose include green or yellow nasal discharge. The nasal discharge may be thin or thick, and may possess an offensive odors. The pus may also be brown in color or appear pink or red. When pus looks pink or red, it is not the result of the pus itself, but a reaction from the combination of pus mixed with traces of blood. The inside of the nose is very vascular and contains large numbers of blood vessels and when these blood vessels swell in response to infection or injury, they can break and bleed.
Treating pus in the nose typically requires the use of oral antibiotics. The health care provider will need to evaluate the type of infection to determine which type of antibiotic will be most effective on that particular bacterial organism. If sinusitis or other nose infection is not treated, it may spread to other parts of the body and the blood stream. In conjunction with antibiotics, the health care provider may recommend pain relievers to reduce headache and facial pain commonly seen in sinus infections.
When antibiotics are prescribed to treat pus in the nose, the entire course needs to be completed. Antibiotics can cause side effects such as stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps. They can also cause yeast infections, headaches and loss of appetite. When side effects occur, the health care provider needs to be notified, who can recommend ways to diminish side effects or change the antibiotic treatment plan entirely.
Most nasal infections that produce pus resolve quickly when proper antibiotic treatment is instituted. They can, however, produce secondary infections such as bacterial throat infections. Most antibiotics used to treat nasal infections are known as broad-spectrum antibiotics, so if a throat infection does occur, the antibiotic will usually resolve it.
Sources: National Institutes of Health