A large percentage of people with constant stuffy noses carry the bacteria, staph aureus, in their noses. Some carriers have no nasal symptoms at all. People who carry staph aureus in their noses are at increased risk for not healing when they cut themselves or have surgery, having sore nipples when they breast feed, and being unable to control skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis. Surgeons who have staph aureus in their noses are usually not allowed to operate because the germ can get into surgical wounds and delay healing.

Doctors usually treat skin infections with antibiotic pills and injections, which readily clear germs from the skin, but oral and injected antibiotics rarely clear staph aureus from the nose. After treatment, staph aureus returns to your skin to start another infection. Most of the time, you can clear staph aureus from your nose by applying an antibiotic ointment in your nose at bedtime for several weeks. You can buy inexpensive bacitracin or neosporin ointment without a prescription (in the first-aid section of your pharmacy or supermarket) and apply a small amount inside your nostrils for several weeks. Some people need to apply an antibiotic ointment into their noses for five days each month for a year to be cured. If you have a resistant staph aureus that does not respond after a year, your doctor can do a culture to tell you what antibiotic to use.

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Checked 8/8/10