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Anon

Scab in nose

I have a scab on the inside of my nose, which appeared a number of months ago, I think due to me cleaning my nose and scratching the soft skin layer. It will not heal anymore, and I wake up each morning with a scab of blood and dryish nasal mucus, which I end up having to remove as my nose is pretty blocked as it is. I have not seen the GP about this as of yet.

11 May 2021

Further assessment

The skin within our nose can become injured for a number of reasons, including allergies, trauma, use of certain medication as well as some underlying medical conditions. If you are frequently cleaning the inside of the nose it is likely that this wound is due to the ‘trauma’ caused by this, and that the regular cleaning is disrupting the wound's natural healing cycle.

That being said, as with any wound on or skin that doesn’t appear to be healing as it should, this should always be checked by your GP. Sometimes delayed wound healing can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, including poorly controlled diabetes [Diabetes UK, 2021], a sign of infection, or occasionally due to more serious conditions, such as skin cancer [Cancer Research UK, 2021]. If after assessment your GP feels that you would benefit from some further investigations into why the wound in your nose isn’t healing as it should, they may wish to refer you on to a specialist [NHS, 2021]; which specialist to see will depend on the likely underlying cause, but this could be a dermatologist or an Ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, for example.

Treatment

What the best treatment is will depend on what we believe the underlying cause to be. The most likely cause here, as you suggest, is that by regular cleaning inside the nostril, the scab that has formed is being knocked, which essentially means that you take a ‘step back’ in the wound healing process; as much as possible it would be sensible to avoid cleaning the inside of your nose now until the wound has fully had time to heal, to prevent reopening of the wound.

If the wound has become infected, or you are suffering with a condition that may need some further treatment, your GP will be able to prescribe you any necessary medications to help with this; whether it is those to treat the underlying condition or antibiotics for an infection [NHS, 2021].

If your wound has become chronic, and your GP has ruled out any infection or underling medical condition, then you may benefit from speaking with your local pharmacist about any over the counter creams, nasal rinses or other topical treatments that are available to you to help speed up this process and reduce any inflammation [Wound Care Society, 2021].

If you would like to discuss this through further with one of our pharmacists in the Health at Hand team, you can also call us directly on 0800 003 004; pharmacists are available 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm on Saturdays and 8am-12pm on Sunday. If you call outside of these hours one of our nurses will be happy to arrange a call back for you at a suitable time.

Prevention

There are some things that can make the development of wounds inside the nose more likely, or that may delay the wound healing process. If you can identify, and eliminate, any of these potential risk factors then this may help to promote wound healing.

Some external factors that may cause crusting or scabbing around the nose include:

  • Environmental dryness – Heating and/or air conditioning may contribute to this
  • Medications – this could be a side effect of oral medications or nasal sprays used
  • Extended periods of time in a very dry environment, such as during air travel. 

Things you can do to help promote wound healing:

Try to ensure that the environment you are in has moisture in the air; you could benefit from using an air humidifier to help with this.

Speak to your local pharmacist about any moisturising or lubricating creams, this could be petroleum jelly or a saline nasal spray for example, that can help to reduce dryness in the nose.

Ensure that you are keeping well hydrated; if our body is dehydrated then the mucus membranes of our bodies; of which the nasal membrane is one, can also dry out and be more prone to injuries.

Frequent blowing and/or picking at the nose can also lead to trauma, or the dislodging of scabs that are already present; it is best to avoid these activities, especially whilst this wound is healing.

Avoid smoking and use of other drugs as these substances are known to dry out and irritate the mucus membrane of the nose [Healthline, 2021].

I hope that this information is useful, but in this situation, it is best to speak with your GP for a review to rule out any conditions needing further treatment.

If you would like to discuss this through with one of our nurses, you can also call our medical information line here at Health at Hand on 0800 003 004; nurses are available 24/7.

References

Diabetes UK, 2021. Slow healing of cuts and wounds. Available at: Slow Healing of Wounds and Cuts - Causes and Treatment (diabetes.co.uk). (Accessed 10 May 2021).

Cancer Research UK, 2021. Skin cancer symptoms. Available at: Skin cancer symptoms | Cancer Research UK. (Accessed 10 May 2021).

Healthline, 2021. What’s causing scabs in my nose? Available at: Scabs in Nose: Causes, Treatments, and More (healthline.com). (Accessed 10 May 2021).

NHS, 2021. Cuts and grazes. Available at: Cuts and grazes - NHS (www.nhs.uk). (Accessed 10 May 2021).

Wound Care Society, 2021. How to heal a sore inside nose. Available at: How to heal sore inside nose - Wound Care Society. (Accessed 10 May 2021).

Answered by the Health at Hand team.  

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