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Nasal Sprays: What are They?

Nasal Sprays: What are They?

January 17, 2024
Nasal Sprays: What are They?

So, what exactly are nasal sprays, and how do they work their magic? Simply put, they’re medications delivered through a spray mechanism directly into your nasal passages.

Nasal sprays are a popular treatment option for many people suffering from allergies, congestion, or other nasal problems. 

While this medication can help relieve allergy symptoms, nasal sprays are only as successful as how they are used. 

What are the different types of nasal sprays?

These sprays come in different types, each catering to specific congestion needs.

  1. Decongestant Nasal Sprays

Decongestant nasal sprays, like oxymetazoline, work by narrowing blood vessels in the nasal passages.

They help ease the congestion by reducing the swelling. This allows the air to flow freely.

  • Steroid Nasal Sprays

Steroid nasal sprays, such as fluticasone, combat inflammation, and allergic reactions. Steroid nasal sprays help calm down inflammation villains causing your congestion.

  • Saline Nasal Sprays

Saline nasal sprays are a natural, saltwater-based option. They help moisturize and clear nasal passages. This ensures your nasal passages stay well-moisturized and congestion-free.

  • Antihistamine Nasal Sprays

Antihistamine nasal sprays, like azelastine, block histamines. Histamines are chemicals in the body that cause allergic symptoms.

If you are using numerous nasal sprays at the same time, please use them in the following order:

  1. Saline nasal sprays, mists, gels, or irrigations
  2. Decongestant spray – Use this for a few days on an as-needed basis and only if your allergist recommends it.
  3. Nasal steroid sprays
  4. From this point on, other nasal sprays can come in any order.

How do nasal sprays work?

Nasal sprays work by delivering medication directly into the nasal passages. 

  • Decongestant sprays constrict blood vessels. This reduces swelling and congestion. 
  • Steroid sprays combat inflammation. 
  • Saline sprays moisturize and flush out irritants. 
  • Antihistamine sprays block histamines to alleviate allergy symptoms. 

These targeted mechanisms provide relief from dryness, nasal congestion, and allergic reactions. Thus, promoting better nasal health and improved breathing. Proper usage, and following instructions, ensure optimal effectiveness with minimal side effects.

What is the difference between over-the-counter sprays and prescription nasal sprays?

Nasal steroids, which are available by prescription and over-the-counter, can be used for long-term diseases such as chronic sinusitis and seasonal rhinitis. These sprays treat sneezing, runny nose, and itchy nose. These sprays can also treat stuffiness caused by a common cold, seasonal allergies, or a sinus infection. It may take a few weeks of daily use to fully appreciate the benefits of these nasal sprays.

Other over-the-counter nasal sprays provide practically immediate relief. However, they are only intended for short-term use. 

These decongestants relieve nasal swelling and pain. Then, it should only be used for three days. The medicine essentially causes the small blood vessels to dilate.

Are nasal sprays addictive?

Over-the-counter nasal sprays have no habit-forming chemicals. They do not produce the compulsive cravings that characterize addiction. 

It is possible, however, to acquire a resistance to nasal sprays. Your nasal membranes may grow resistant — or less receptive — to the effects of a decongestant nasal spray after a few days of use. 

To relieve the congestion, you may find yourself needing more and more nasal spray. You may discover that the congestion worsened after you stopped.

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