5 months post rhinoplasty. Somebody sneezed directly into my face. Can I get an infection?

I am 5 months post rhinoplasty. Today someone on the bus right beside me who was visibly very sick sneezed directly into my face and I felt it splash into my nose. Can I get an infection from this at 5 months post op? Or would you deem this to not be an issue? Are colds viral infections or bacterial? If they are viral I can't get an infection right? What steps should I take now?

Doctor Answers 4

Normal risk

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Sorry for this gross experience!  

Basically, your nose should be completely healed - your risk for infection is no greater now than it was before surgery unless you have another issue with delayed healing or something similar.  In a routine post op course, you should be fine.  You are probably more at risk for a cold or other infection from the sneeze, rather than a surgical site infection at this point.

Hope that helps,

Christopher C. Chang, MD

Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia

Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

5 months post rhinoplasty. Somebody sneezed directly into my face. Can I get an infection?

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Since you are 5 months out from surgery, you incisions all should be well healed and I don't see any reason that event should cause you a surgical site infection.

Garrett A. Wirth, MS, MS, FACS

Wirth Plastic Surgery

Nose infection unlikely

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At 5 months after rhinoplasty, your nose incision should be closed and well-healed.  A surgical infection from your experience is unlikely.  Most "colds" are viral in nature, though sneezing in itself may be related to seasonal allergies, bacterial infection, or a simple reflex.  I recommend washing your hands often, especially after your commute; I also recommend against touching your face/ eyes/ nose with unwashed hands; good diet, rest, hydration, and stress management.  Good luck in your recovery! 

Inessa Fishman, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon

Surgical infection at five months very unlikely

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Sorry to hear about your negative commute experience.  Rest assured that your chance of getting a surgical site infection at five months is very close to zero since all the incisions are closed and healed now.  You may be exposed to whatever that person had in terms of a viral illness however.  Make sure you get plenty of rest and stay hydrated.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.