Iodine & Nose Infections

Iodine is an element that is useful in preventing and treating infections. Because iodine has a risk of toxicity and may damage healthy cells, the element is usually used in combination with povidone, a water-soluble polymer. Povidone-iodine is less toxic and shows greater disinfectant properties than other forms of iodine. It is therefore the most common type of iodine used for treating nose and other infections.

Iodine and Infections

Iodine in the form of povidone-iodine is beneficial for preventing infection and treating a range of pathogens, including bacteria, protozoa, fungi and viruses. It is available over the counter in various strengths in spray, liquid and cleanser form, as well as by prescription from a doctor. Povidone-iodine helps treat nose infections by killing existing bacteria and preventing the colonization of additional bacteria.

Preventing Nose Infections With Iodine

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A plethora of bacteria resides inside the nose, making infection possible from even tiny scratches. Larger or deeper wounds, including piercings or scratches caused by nose picking, are likely to occur unless thorough cleaning of the wound takes place. Application of povidone-iodine can help prevent infection from these types of injuries. Povidone-iodine cream may also help prevent colonization and infection of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus in nasal secretions, according to a study published in the July 2000 issue of "The Journal of Hospital Infection."

Treating Nose Infections With Iodine

The skin in and around the nose may become infected with staphylococcus or streptococcus and cause conditions such as impetigo. Impetigo and similar infections may respond to treatment with diluted povidone-iodine, according to Iodine may also help clear symptoms associated with herpes infection and speed healing of infected nose piercings. Moreover, common bacteria do not appear to develop a resistance to povidone-iodine as they do to some antibiotics. This means povidone-iodine may effectively treat some nose infections that topical or even oral antibiotics cannot.


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Povidone-iodine should not be used on large areas of infection or if there is a puncture wound or burn on the nose. Nose infections that fail to heal after several days of home treatment require medical attention. Although povidone-iodine is available over the counter, it should still be used under the supervision of a medical professional. Severe infections may require oral or intravenous antibiotics to prevent complications and death.