Using Nasal Sprays for Allergies
A runny or stuffy nose, or sneezing are among the most common symptoms of hay fever and other allergies. If you are suffering from one of these symptoms, there are various nasal sprays available that can help you breathe better. However, choosing the correct nasal spray may be a little challenging.
What Types of Nasal Sprays Are There?
There are various types of nasal sprays available on the market, including steroid nasal sprays, antihistamine nasal sprays, OTC nasal sprays, decongestant sprays, and saline nasal sprays.
Steroid nasal sprays include prescription medications like Flonase, Beconase, Nasonex, or Omnaris. These nasal sprays contain corticosteroids that help to reduce and prevent allergy symptoms, such sneezing, nasal discharge, nasal congestion, or itching in the nose.
Antihistamine nasal sprays, such as Astelin (azelastine), work by interfering with the release of histamine. Histamine is a chemical responsible for many allergy symptoms. An antihistamine nasal spray can help to relieve symptoms like nasal or sinus congestion and postnasal drip.
You can also find an over-the-counter nasal spray containing cromolyn sodium – an anti-inflammatory agent that helps to prevent the release of inflammatory chemicals. If you use cromolyn sodium spray before getting exposed to pollen, dust mites, animal dander and other allergens. These nasal sprays can also prevent asthma attacks.
If you are suffering from nasal congestion, you can try using a nonprescription decongestant spray, such as Dristan or Afrin. However, don’t use such sprays long-term. Decongestants are quite effective, if you are going to use them for a few days. But if you are looking for a long-term allergy treatment, decongestant is not an option.
Finally, saline nasal sprays are a more natural alternative. They are based on a saltwater solution and have no side effects. These sprays can help to soften mucus, which can lead to reduced nasal congestion.
What Precautions Should You Take?
People who develop allergies often take an antihistamine medication for symptom relief. However, specialists recommend that you try a nasal spray first. In many cases, there is no need to treat the entire body, if you the symptoms are concentrated in your nose.
Long-term prescription nasal sprays are usually effective, and they are safe for most patients. However, if you have any damage to your nasal passages, avoid using any nasal sprays.
Sometimes, nasal sprays, both prescription and over-the-counter, may cause side effects, such as bitter taste, sneezing, nasal discharge, nasal irritation, or nosebleeds. Nosebleeds are more likely to occur if the weather is cold and dry. If you experience persistent nosebleeds, you may be using your medication incorrectly. Consult your doctor for more details.
How Should You Use a Nasal Spray?
It may seem like one of the easiest things on earth, but in fact, using a nasal spray correctly can be challenging. There are some tips that can help you get the most benefits from a medication.
Before using a nasal spray, blow your nose first, to clear the nasal passages. Close one of your nostrils with your finger. Gently spray the medication into another nostril and breathe in slowly. Change the nostrils.
Wait a bit until blowing your nose and try not to sneeze. Let the spray stay do its job.
Remember to shake and prime the bottle of the medication, when needed.
Do Nasal Sprays Cause Addiction?
People suffering from allergies tend to use prescription nasal sprays for long periods of time. However, it’s related to the effectiveness of this allergy treatment, rather than addiction.
When it comes to decongestant sprays available over the counter, a person can build up a tolerance to these medications. This means that you may need to increase your dose over time to have the same effect. What is more, if you stop using a decongestant, your symptoms may even worsen. In this case, specialists recommend that you stop using the medication for several weeks.