Story by: Norton Healthcare on April 26, 2023
Using nasal spray correctly for congestion and other allergy symptoms will make sure the medicine gets where it needs to go and can help avoid nosebleeds.
Nasal sprays like fluticasone — a corticosteroid — may be prescribed for relief of your seasonal allergy symptoms like congestion, sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. Before using a prescription or over-the-counter nasal spray, read the instructions. Some nasal sprays for congestion, especially over-the-counter sprays, can cause undesired “rebound” side effects that can make symptoms worse.
Before using a medicated spray, you may want to start with a packaged saline spray. This is a safe, clean combination of sterile water and salt that will help clean out your nose.
To get the correct angle on your nose, Monalisa M. Tailor, M.D., an internal medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates, tells patients who see her for primary care to use their right hand to spray the left nostril and vice versa. Crossing her arms across her chest to demonstrate, she recalls the recent “Black Panther” hit movie and suggests patients think, “Wakanda forever.”
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Too much use of some nasal sprays can make congestion worse as the tissues in your nose stop responding to the medicine. The fact that it’s not working can prompt some to use the spray more frequently, making the discomfort even worse. This is why the nasal sprays often carry a warning not to use for more than a few days. Check the instructions.
Saline spray: This is simply sterile water and salt packaged to keep it clean. These sprays help lubricate and clear out nasal passages to relieve dryness and congestion. Because of their simple ingredients, they’re safe for everyone and can be used regularly.
Corticosteroid: The steroid spray addresses congestion, stuffiness and other discomfort from allergies. Some are available over the counter and can be used for a week or two.
Antihistamine: These sprays don’t work well on congestion, but help with a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing. Decongestant: These sprays shrink swollen blood vessels to relieve congestion, but won’t address sneezing. These are the sprays that can cause rebound congestion if used too frequently, as the blood vessels stop responding.
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