Nasal Spray

The Allergy Kit

About Nasal Spray


Nasal spray is commonly used to treat sinus congestion when a person has a cold or an allergy. When a person is experiencing congestion due to a cold or allergy, the blood vessels in the nose dilate and swell resulting in difficulty in breathing. Administering these sinus sprays relieve the symptoms by constricting the blood vessels and minimizing the swelling, which allows one to experience relief from his or her symptoms. Over time, though, the benefits of this medicine wear off and the swelling and congestion return, thus requiring additional doses of this sinus medicine.

Antihistamine Spray

Antihistamine nasal spray is frequently used to treat people who experience allergic reactions and or sinus allergies. Although they are not as effective in treating allergy symptoms as some other medications, such as steroids, relief can be felt within thirty minutes and users of antihistamine sinus sprays do not experience many side effects. For the best results, the sinus spray should be used prior to the symptoms appearing, although even applying at the immediate onset of symptoms can be an effective treatment. Antihistamines may result in an individual feeling drowsy so they should be avoided if one will be in a position requiring complete attention, such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle.

Decongestant Spray

Decongestant nasal spray can be more effective than the antihistamine type in relieving congestive symptoms from colds and allergies, although prolonged use can have negative effects. Those individuals who choose to take decongestant sinus sprays for symptom relief need to be very careful to take the medication as prescribed and for no longer than three to five days. Prolonged use of decongestant sinus sprays can result in loss of its effectiveness, requiring more frequent doses and even damage to the sinus passage, a condition called rhinitis medicamentosa. Decongestant sinus sprays can also act as a stimulant and if taken at night may lead to insomnia.

Natural Sprays

If individuals are concerned about using nasal sprays containing medicinal properties to relieve congestion and allergy symptoms, they can try using natural sinus sprays. These are predominately a saline solution with herbal medicines that can be quite effective at relieving symptoms. The symptom relief may not be as long lasting as drug store brands, but the possibility of experiencing negative side effects from using natural sinus sprays is greatly reduced. One natural sinus spray that works very well is called Sinufix, and it can be obtained in health food stores. Some Sinufix users report that this natural spray eased their symptoms as well as their prescription sinus sprays.

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Side Effects

Nasal sprays can be an effective way to treat congestion and irritation in the chest or sinus passage. But frequent and long term use of the sprays can lead to some potentially significant side effects. One must remember that drug store brand sinus sprays contain medicine or steroids and therefore can have the same negative effects as other steroids or medication taken on an extended basis. The most commonly reported side effects from using sinus sprays are nosebleeds and irritation but there is a wider range of side effects, most associated with the incorrect usage of these sprays. Side effects can include:

Acne, allergic reactions, breathing problems, burning sensations, coughing, disrupted sleep, dizziness, dry nostrils, excessive nasal discharge, increased urination, fatigue, infection of the nose or throat, nasal blisters, nausea, nosebleeds, painful menstruation, rapid heartbeat, rebound rhinitis, shaking hands, sneezing, excessive thirst, watering of the eyes, and weakness.

Although some of these side effects can be minor and may even be attributed to the effects of having a cold or allergy, other ones may be more serious and they can be a direct result of long term or inappropriate use of sinus spray. Rebound rhinitis occurs when a decongestant sinus spray is over used and its effectiveness begins to dwindle. The individual reacts by using the spray more frequently which causes it to be even less effective. This pattern can eventually lead to rhinitis medicamentosa which is damage to the sinus passage itself. Side effects resulting from inappropriate use of sinus sprays should be carefully noted and appropriate action taken in response, such as a visit to a physician.

Combination Treatments

Each type of nasal spray comes with its own benefits and concerns. To minimize negative impacts to the individual requiring symptom relief, a combination of the various forms of sinus sprays can be used. Choosing the decongestant variety over the antihistamine type during the day when the individual is required to be alert and using the antihistamine version at night before going to bed would be an option to consider. Using the natural sinus spray for a couple of days to avoid becoming dependent on the decongestant variety could minimize the chance of rebound rhinitis and rhinitis medicamentosa.

The Allergy Kit


Nasal sprays are an effective way of treating congestion caused by allergies or colds. Sometimes a combination of treatments is required to alleviate the symptoms but it is important to use caution and not overuse the medication. Long term use of sinus sprays, primarily those containing steroids or medications, can have significant negative impacts on the individual and a dependency on the medication may develop. Use sinus sprays only as directed on the prescription or as directed on the packaging, and depending on the type or severity of any side effects, individuals should consult with a physician.

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