Nasal furuncle (boil) – treatment and complications

A boil, or furuncle, is annoying enough. If it is also on or in your nose, you would prefer to hide from humanity until the ‘monster’ is defeated. Rest assured, a nasal furuncle is easy to treat. Sometimes with an incision, so that the pus can drain. However, complications can occur with a nasal furuncle, so caution is advised. Usually the source of inflammation is a hair follicle. In most cases it concerns a staphylococcal infection. An infection that is highly contagious.


  • What is a furuncle (boil)?
  • A nasal furuncle can be dangerous
  • Symptoms
  • Carbuncle
  • Treatment of a nasal furuncle
  • Complications
  • To the doctor…


What is a furuncle (boil)?

A boil is an inflamed hair follicle or sebaceous gland. Necrosis then occurs under the skin. In principle, a boil can appear anywhere on the body, including on or in the nose. The cause is usually a staphylococcal infection ( Staphylococcus aureus ). Moisture and abrasive clothing, such as in the groin and neck, are factors that give the final push to the formation of a boil, so to speak. People with diabetes are also more sensitive to this inflammation.

Boil / Source: Mahdouch, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-1.0)

A furuncle is easily recognizable by the painful, red, pustular hardening in the skin. This discoloration turns black as the skin continues to necrotize. After a few days, the abscess breaks through and yellow-white pus comes out that can also be bloody. At this stage, the boil is highly contagious for understandable reasons. The pus consists of dead white blood cells and countless bacteria (staphylococci).

A nasal furuncle can be dangerous

A boil on or in the nose occurs in the same way as elsewhere on the body. Nose picking is notorious in that respect. A staphylococcal infection of the hair follicle is almost always the cause.


The symptoms of a nasal furuncle are also:

  • Red discoloration.
  • Raised hardening of the affected skin (hence the name boil).
  • Pain.
  • At a later stage there is a very dark, swollen skin discoloration.



A boil usually heals on its own. If boils develop on a lump due to infection, this is called a carbuncle or nine-eye. It is important to know that squeezing a boil in or on the nose can be life-threatening. The risk of general sepsis (blood poisoning) is then very high. The nasal furuncle also requires special attention from your doctor because of the risk of thrombophlebitis.

Treatment of a nasal furuncle

It is not wise to express a boil. In the past, the well-known, old-fashioned drawing ointment was applied to a boil. However, it has almost gone out of fashion. Nowadays, a furuncle is treated with a different type of skin ointment (diachylon, ung. chlor. hydrarg.-3%) or an incision is made. Sometimes the doctor prescribes an antibiotic, but only if there is suspicion that the infection is spreading. After all, staphylococcus aureus is and remains a virulent bacterium. Heat compresses and antibiotic ointment are specific for the treatment of a nasal furuncle. With an incision, the furuncle is only opened and not deflated, so that the pus can drain on its own. Extensive surgery is sometimes necessary for a carbuncle in the nasal area.

Source: DarkoStojanovic, Pixabay


As indicated, a nasal furuncle sets off quite a few alarm bells in the medical world. The complications cannot be minor, such as:
A notorious inflammation of the cavernous sinus due to a nasal furuncle. The venous blood drainage from the nasal tip runs via the ophthalmic vein to the aforementioned cranial cavity, which makes the infection extra dangerous. These boils should therefore under no circumstances be squeezed out.
Sepsis (blood poisoning)
By expressing the boil.
Recurrent boils are referred to as furunculosis. This is often a combination of reduced resistance or general malaise. Diabetes patients can also suffer from recurrent boils, because it is known that they almost by definition have poorer wound healing.

To the doctor…

If you suspect that you have a boil, it is important to know that it is unwise to treat yourself with all kinds of pulling ointments. This is especially true if you have a nasal furuncle. Go to the doctor immediately for the right treatment. If necessary, he will refer you to the specialist.

read more

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  • Nasal polyps – annoying but usually harmless
  • Frequent nosebleeds – dangerous or just annoying?
  • This is how a boil is formed
  • This is how you recognize inflammatory symptoms
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