Nasal sprays are used to treat cold symptoms or allergies e.g. nasal congestion, sneezing, itching, etc. They are available by over the counter and prescription, depending on the medication. Most nasal sprays work via a hand-operated pump bottle to introduce a fine mist of medication into your nostrils.
Nasal Sprays: Types and Usage
There are many different types of nasal sprays that treat various symptoms:
Nasal Corticosteroid Sprays
Nasal corticosteroid sprays work in a similar fashion to inhaled corticosteroids that are used to reduce airway inflammation by people with asthma. These nasal sprays are non-sedating and help eliminate the runny nose and sneezing that are part of the inflammatory reaction.
Anticholinergic Nasal Sprays
Anticholinergic nasal sprays are used to treat vasomotor rhinitis. While it’s not an allergy, the symptoms of vasomotor rhinitis are quite similar to most nasal allergies e.g. allergic rhinitis.
Nasal Decongestant Sprays
Nasal decongestant sprays are quite different as compared to most other types of nasal sprays. Unlike some nasal sprays, nasal decongestant sprays aren’t generally used to treat seasonal or chronic allergies. They are usually recommended for symptoms of a cold.
Saline Nasal Sprays
Saline nasal sprays do not contain medicine. They are simply saltwater solutions that provide a soothing effect when you spray them into your nostrils. They are basically a moisturizer for the nose.
Who Should Consider Nasal Sprays?
Nasal sprays are suitable for most allergy sufferers that take oral medications. Most patients generally tolerate nasal sprays, particularly the prescription ones. However, if you have any damage to your nasal passages, then using nasal sprays is not recommended for you.
How to Use Nasal Sprays
Different nasal spray products have different instructions with regards to using them. To use most nasal sprays, these tips will help:
- First, make sure to remove mucus from your nasal passages by blowing your nose.
- Wash your hands with water and soap.
- Shake the bottle of nasal spray before opening it. Some products also require you to “prime” them before using.
- Now slightly tilt your head forward, close one nostril, and insert the tip of the nasal spray into your other nostril.
- Squeeze the nasal spray bottle while breathing in slowly through your nose.
- Remove the nasal spray tip from your nostril and breath out.
- Repeat the same steps for your other nostril.
- Don’t blow your nose immediately after using the product. Also, avoid sneezing.
- Instructions for over the counter nasal sprays may differ. So, you should use only the recommended dosage and follow the instructions correctly.
Can I Become Addicted to Nasal Sprays?
You cannot become addicted to prescription nasal sprays because they are not habit-forming. Over-the-counter nasal sprays on the other hand, shouldn’t be used for more than a few days because they have the potential for addictive side effects. They are not really addictive but can be difficult to stop as you can build up a tolerance to them. This is called the rebound effect. You can reverse this effect by simply stop using the spray for a few weeks.