Q. Why am I having sever headache after using a Q-tip to remove dirt from nose?

Answered by
Dr. Faisal Abdul Karim Malim
and medically reviewed by Dr.Meera Premanand
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 03, 2022 and last reviewed on: Feb 04, 2022

Hi doctor,

I am 71 years old male, 6 foot 1 inch tall, and 140 pounds by weight. I currently take tablet Metformin and Pepcid (Famotidine). Seven days ago, I was preparing to water hanging basket, and some dried mud fell into my nose. I attempted to remove it with a Q tip but could not get it all out. I have been having throbbing frontal and bi-temporal headaches the last four days, but it comes and goes. I have no sinus drainage, no cough, no fever, no stiff neck, and vomiting. Tylenol tablet relieves headaches. Should I worry it is Naegleria fowleri? Please help me.

Thank you.



Welcome to

Considering the circumstances and given your age, Naegleria fowleri may cause something similar to what you are experiencing now. You will need to get a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for diagnosis. If an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain, if it shows meningeal edema, you may require to start with steroids, along with treatment for Naegleria fowleri infection or any other infection depending on the reports. Irrespective, you will need to get evaluated by a local doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment for your condition. I hope this helps.

Thank you.

Thank you doctor,

My headache has gone away, and no fever or stiff neck. If this were N Fowleri, I had four days of headaches and other symptoms. Internet says the incubation period is 3 to 7 days but can be 15 days. It has been seven days now, so I hope for the best. Is PCR a blood test, or do I have to have a spinal tap? My doctor says it will not be done without fever, stiff neck, or severe headache. Please advise.



Welcome back to

CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) are done from a spinal tap. If your symptoms are better, you will not need it. If they come back again, it is advisable to get it done. I hope this helps.

Thank you.

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