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Suffering from runny nose and bumps inside nostrils. Applying zovirax cream. Could it be impetigo?

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Emergency Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2000
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Impetigo or cold sore? I Work as a dog caretaker-spending a lot of time outside walking them and inside disinfecting their crates nightly with a harsh chemical. I seem to be allergic or irritated by Everything there and need to blow my nose constantly. The start of the cold fall has made it worse. I do wash my hands before and after I blow it but can only do a quick wash as my work is very busy and I need to be constantly moving.
Three days ago when I woke up I felt what I thought was the beginning of a cold sore on the bottom of my left nostril. That day it progressively got redder and more sore (and unfortunately I was at work so still having to blow my runny nose very frequently). I assumed it was a cold sore so I started applying my prescription Zovirax cream to it. Day 2 applied that all day-nose was very painful still and I also noticed bumps or polyps inside both nostrils. Quite a few. End of day 2 the sores started to scab. Not one scab but several small and very red skin under the scabs. Day 3 same scabbing (I started cleansing with hydrogen peroxide and stopped Zovirax)-small yellow scabs and lots of peeling and dryness. Still sore and red under scabs but not As sore. I currently do not have health insurance but will try and find a lower costing clinic to get antibiotics if you believe it may be impetigo.
Thank you for your time. XXXXXXX
Posted Sat, 3 Nov 2012 in Asthma and Allergy
Answered by Dr. R.A. Singh 2 hours later

Thanks for the query.

As per your description, impetigo appears more likely than cold sore.

Blowing the nose frequently can irritate the nostrils which are likely to get infected by nasal bacteria. In such cases, one can have symptoms as that of yours. Besides that, you have allergic rhinitis and this can result in secondary skin infection. Therefore my money is on bacteria induced impetigo than cold sores.

It is good to know that the lesions are scabbing and drying off. You can apply locally antibiotic skin cream such as Neomycin, Polymixin B sulfate and Bacitracin Zinc. It should clear off the lesions in a few days.
You can visit a nearby free clinic if symptoms do not improve - we can get a culture and sensitivity test done on the lesions to identify the causative organisms and treat it with appropriate antibiotics.

In all, the symptoms do not concern me. We can wait for a few days before deciding to see your healthcare provider.

I also suggest you to take antihistamine medicine for the allergic rhinitis (running nose). Pain killer can be taken to reduce the pain and inflammation.

I hope I have answered your query. If you have any further query, I will be happy to help.

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