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Can a skin infection cause viral infection with chills, brain fog and neck tightness?

Answered by
Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1975

Answered : 1391 Questions

Posted on Sat, 9 Jun 2018 in Infections
Question: Hi, please bear with me.

My Cold/Flu usually last over 4 weeks. Which is a yearly occurrence around September/October. I believe this is a bit long. (1)My first question what could be causing this. I didn't think much of because I eventually got better.

However this year I had a skin infection, around 3 months ago, during this and after, somehow I didn't get the Cold/Flu or at least its symptoms, like coughing, runny nose. But everyone around me had it, I was under the weather(fatigue, brain fog) for a week or so but I attributed that to after effects of the antibiotics.

Another effect of the skin infection was a rash that spread from my left fore arm to my RIGHT ear. Left forearm->left ear->right ear. The rash caused the ears to swell, left first, left got better, then right ear swell. The Left ear eventually looks normal. Rash is gone.

Right ear looks better but still, to this day, feel some swelling on the Right ear...I felt normal for months with that swelling lingering...

Now I was diagnosed with a viral infection, started two weeks ago, with a bump inside the Right nostril(near the entrance) and swelling on the Right nose. I don't have cough, runny nose or fever. I did have neck tightness, chills, brain fog. Today my throat feels different and I feel light headed and sleepy. And I kinda feel that my right side of the throat is more...different.

I feel if there's something wrong it always started and more pronounced on the right side.

What could this be, it's like that skin infection change something systemic... what kind of tests should I do?

Thanks... XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
FLU/viral respiratory illnesses

Detailed Answer:
You had symptoms (sore throat,cough runny nose,fever ,rash etc) of viral respiratory illnesses presumably Flu In uncomplicated Flu, the acute illness generally resolves over 2–5 days, and most patients have largely recovered in 1 week.Flu symptoms lasting for 04 weeks is unusual,though cough may persist for weeks sometimes and in a significant minority symptoms of weakness or lassitude (postinfluenza asthenia) may persist for several weeks .
You have not suffered from attacks of Flu/cold 3 months ago,while other members of the family had it,because of your immunity from previous infection(Serum antibody responses, can be detected by the second week after primary infection in case of Flu and HI titers of ≥40 have been associated with protection from infection) and not because of antibiotic taken for skin infection.
In view of repeated attacks and prolonged period for resolution of symptoms,you may go for serum immunoglobulin level(IgG, IgA, IgM) studies.
DR T K Biswas

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
Follow up: Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 5 hours later
Thanks for the response,
04 weeks as you said is long but I think you're right, it was only the cough that persisted for weeks I would feel otherwise fine every year, was just the cough.

As mentioned my viral infection this year, right now, do not have the usual yearly flu/cold symptoms.

I do Not have fever, coughing, runny nose, at All. If anything my nose is dry and never had to blow my nose. The swelling on the right side of the nose was new as well, today nose is largely fine(was getting better a few days after it started) but now its my throat which started 2 days ago, feels a bit tight. It doesn't hurt, and I can eat/breath just fine.

(1)I hope this normal, do upper infection move from nose to throat, etc. as they resolve location by location? Will this move to other places after? Or is it more normal if everything happens at the same time and also resolves at the same time?

(2)If you can take a look at my nose, which started this. It was swollen more noticeably when it began 2 weeks ago. Is it normal that after 2 weeks it's still a bit swollen? Do the inflamation get better slowly, compared to the cause of the inflamation?

(3)Also, I was told the white color tongue is consistent with a viral infection, that theres inflammation. Would this return to normal the moment my viral situation is resolved or will this persist for a while as well, like my nose?

(4) Do you think that I am contagious? At what point shouldn't I be anymore?

Answered by Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 33 minutes later
Brief Answer:
FLU/viral respiratory illnesses

Detailed Answer:
1.Viral respiratory illness involves the entire upper respiratory tract, i,e nose,throat,nasophayrnx ,oropharynx,laryngopharynx. It may even spread to lower respiratory tract as well subsequently depending on the type of viruses.Illness usually begins with rhinorrhea and sneezing accompanied by nasal congestion ,Although rhinoviruses are the most frequently recognized cause similar illnesses are caused by a variety of other viruses and predominant site of affection varies.
2.You have predominant nasal symptoms and nasal swelling which will subside eventually unless there is super added secondary infection.
3. White or greyish coating or 'furred tongue' –non specific -can be due to smoking(heavy smokers), chronic debility, acute tonsillitis, sore throat etc. Furring of the tongue is of little value as an indication of disease.
4.Rhinoviruses appear to spread through direct contact with
infected secretions, usually respiratory droplets.Virus shedding coincides with the onset of illness or may begin shortly before symptoms develop.Virus shedding
generally stops within 2–5 days after symptoms first appear.Hence most of the time person has already spread the virus ,once he/she is symptomatic.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
Follow up: Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 14 hours later

My throat is getting better every day, I still have some fatigue and either dizziness or headache...

What do you make of my white tongue? I haven't seen my tongue in a long time to know if I always had this. Can the viral infection I have now cause this?

I had a bacterial skin infection 3 months ago, as mentioned, antibiotics for 10 days + 2 more days because of the aforementioned rash, which didn't help, probably wasn't bacterial Doc said.

I'm reading this white tongue could be because I took antibiotics as well?

Is this what they call Oral Trush?

What do you recommend I do? Atm, I'm eating probiotic yogurt, gargle salt water...

Answered by Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
FLU/viral respiratory illnesses

Detailed Answer:
White tongue of yours seem to be fur coated and not due to thrush.This fur coating can occur in patient with upper respiratory tract infection who breathe through mouth due to upper respiratory diseases. It is more marked on the posterior part of the tongue where there is less mobility and papillae desquamate more slowly.It will clear to normal pink appearance of tongue eventually in few more days.
Continue probiotic.
You can also take oral Vitamin B-complex supplement (tablet or capsule) once a day after meal for a week.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
Follow up: Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 2 days later
Hi, I got the right nostril swab result yesterday and the result is positive for bacteria. Staph Areus. Doc said there's always bacteria in nostrils but mine is a bit overgrown...and gave me Mupirocin ointment 3x a day.
1) since this was a miss diagnosis, what harm can 14 days of treating it like a viral infection do? 14 days since I noticed the bump in my nostril...
2)Is ointment applied to the area inside the nostril enough? Without oral antibiotics? Is it possible it spread in that 14 days to other places?
3) how long should I be using this ointment, doc and pharmacist didn't say.
4) What kind of improvement should I be expecting and in how many days. Please look at my current pics. My nose is not obstructed for days, but I can still see the swelling.
5) As mentioned I had a skin infection on my Left forearm, 3 months ago. Is it possible that the overgrowth is caused by this? Is it possible for me to have bacteria in my blood stream after taking 10 days of Keflex for the forearm, followed by 2 days of Clyndamycin taken for an unknown rash that ended up to be diagnosed as allergic reaction and it got better, the rash went from the left forearm to left ear then to right ear and caused the ears to swell. Left ear is fine but right ear still have some swelling(feels bigger and harder than left ear) ..
6) My current symptoms is fatigue and light headedness, for 2 days now. My nose and neck throat is fine... Doc said that some symptoms doesn't have anything to do with the bacteria, I might also have a virus that will sort itself out...but after that viral missdiagnose... I'm not sure.

I guess question is, what should I do next.. how many days should I wait until I should go back...and if I do what should I ask for? A blood test? If so test for what? Bacteria?
Answered by Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 11 hours later
Brief Answer:
FLU/viral respiratory illnesses

Detailed Answer:
S. aureus is both a commensal and an opportunistic pathogen.
Approximately 30% of healthy persons are colonized with S. aureus,
with a smaller percentage (~10%) persistently colonized. The anterior nares and oropharynx are frequent sites of human colonization These colonization sites serve as a reservoir for future infections.
Hence isolation of Staph. aureus from nose does not mean infection.
Your close-up does not show any evidence of pustule or cellulitis and hence it does not appear that you have significant infection,if any.
Mupirocin skin ointment application for a period of 7 days is adequate for the purpose.

Your viral infection of upper respiratory tract is not misdiagnosed. Bacterial infection is often secondary super added to viral infection due to mucosal damage.
Staph infection certainly will not cause constellation of symptoms like sore throat,cough runny nose,fever ,rash etc.
Since you have frequent infection,viral, bacterial or so,I suggest do serum 25(OH) Vit D level as Vitamin D is thought to be important for for immune function.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
Follow up: Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 11 hours later
I'm living with small kids, am I contagious? If I had oral antibiotics I wouldn't be after 48h correct? But topical only ? I can't even be sure that I cover every mm of my left nostril every time I apply the ointment.
(1)To your point though, is the viral secondary? Or the primary? As mentioned the bump I felt in my nostril, 14 days ago, had a rough top and squishy, and it went flat after I used Polypsporin. I told the Doc all that...Doc said it's viral because of no pus...

Few days after that bump I had clogged nose with no mucus, tightness neck, throat, which has resolved one by one in the last two weeks. Again, I never had a fever or coughing.

Right now I still have a mild migraine like feeling for the last two days. The fatigue is also still here..
(2)Going back, if the bump was bacterial, 14 days ago, and I'm only applying ointment this enough? Without oral?
(3)Also this is my second day with the topical, the right nose, the bumpy part, is red, is this normal? Before it was normal colored, even with the swelling... Please see pic.
(4)I took pic of my right nostril and it looks redder than the left, is this normal? Do you see crusting anywhere? The flesh looks normal, I'm not sure where the infection is located, so I can apply the ointment more precisely...
(5)Also should I be cleaning my nose before I apply the ointment? Would the mucus make it harder for the ointment to be absorbed?
Answered by Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 38 minutes later
Brief Answer:
FLU/viral respiratory illnesses

Detailed Answer:
Close-up of right nostril ,as you have now sent shows redness with swelling . Since you have little relief of symptoms with topical antibiotic,you need to take a course of oral antibiotic for 5-7 days according to the antibiotic sensitivity report.Consult your doctor as oral antibiotic will be prescription drug unlike topical.Blowing/cleaning nose will certainly clear the mucus and local application of antibiotic will be more effective.
Hand washing with soap and water after touching the nose will prevent spread of infection to other members.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 5 hours later
Hi, The redness inside and outside is after I applied the ointment...before I didn't have redness, and I was not congested. Its just the swelling. And the light migraine symptom and fatigue.

1)Did I somehow irritated something. I used my clean index finger to apply it everywhere in the right nostril... thin application.

The doc said "as for up as I can, more in the middle"...

2)It's been 2 days and about 5 application. I should be seeing something, the swelling go down?

The pharmacist said at least 7 days need to use it.

3)Also, very important question I need to ask.

The Doc original prescription is for "Bactroban 2%" but the pharmacists in Canada don't carry them anymore and gave me "Taro Muporocin Ointment 2%" and said it's the same...

Is this correct, is it safe to use in nostril like Bactroban?

Thanks again.
Answered by Dr. Tushar Kanti Biswas 9 hours later
Brief Answer:
FLU/viral respiratory illnesses

Detailed Answer:
Bactroban (mupirocin 2 %) and Taro-Mupirocin (mupirocin 2%) are same. Local application of antibiotic normally works in cutaneous infection by Staphylococcus aureus.Topical Apply tid for 3–5 days.Avoid nasal mucous membrane inside.
Keep fingernails well trimmed to prevent scratching.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana

The User accepted the expert's answer

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