A decongestant nasal spray is highly effective in curing nasal congestion. However, it should be used sparingly. This article discusses the working, side effects, and precautions to be taken while using the spray.
People often get irritated with a runny nose since it causes a lot of discomfort, and at times, may disrupt sleep. Inflammation or swelling of nose tissues, and dilation of blood vessels may lead to nasal congestion.
How Does the Spray Work?
Xylometazoline, is one of the most popularly used nasal spray. It acts on the alpha receptors present along the sinuses and nasal passages. It reduces swelling of the sinus and nasal passage by reducing the flow of blood to the linings of the sinuses. The spray also reduces the production of mucus, and thus helps relieve the blocked nose.
Before using the spray, it is important to blow the nose once, thoroughly. Hold your head up, and put the nozzle of the spray bottle inside the nostrils, one at a time. Press the bottle and inhale. Take deep breaths while inhaling so that the medicine gets evenly distributed. Repeat this for a few times so that the decongestant reaches the interiors of the nasal passage. There may be specific instructions pertaining to the use of a nasal spray depending on the brand. It is therefore important to read the instructions on the label before using it.
The spray may provide total relief within 10 minutes of spraying, and its effect may last for at least 12 hours. It should not be used in case of sneezing or itching of the nose since these conditions cannot be treated with decongestants.
If the spray is used for more than 5 days, it tends to become ineffective. In such cases, extra doses of may be used to get the desired effect. Additional use of decongestant may create an addiction to these sprays and also worsen the congestion.
If the problem of rebound congestion continues, there is a possibility that it could permanently damage the sinus membranes. This condition is known as rhinitis medicamentosa. Nose bleeding, stuffiness of nose, and excessive nasal dryness are a few common symptoms of this condition.
Other Side Effects
A few other side effects of using a nasal spray for decongestion include:
- A feeling of nervousness
- High blood pressure
- Increase in pulse rate
- Stinging, burning, or dryness of the nasal lining
- Frequent sneezing
There are certain things people need to bear in mind before using a nasal spray:
- Try not to spray the decongestant in the eyes.
- Avoid using the spray used by someone else.
- Once the bottle has been opened, it should not be used for more than 28 days.
- The spray should not be used for more than 7 days since it may lead to addiction. Moreover, the medicine becomes ineffective after 3 to 5 days.
- It should not be used by children below 12 years of age and by pregnant women. People who have undergone neurosurgery recently should avoid using it.
- Before using any decongestants, consult a physician and buy proper medicines prescribed by him.
Using a nasal spray is a very good temporary solution to relieve a blocked nose. However, there are a lot of people who have been addicted to these sprays. Addiction happens when the spray is used continuously for more than 7 to 10 days. As the use of sprays become frequent, the body develops resistance to the medicine. This renders the medicine ineffective and may also cause rebound congestion. Therefore, use the spray for only 3 days at a time and if it doesn’t cure the disease, consult a physician for a proper diagnosis and alternatives to cure the illness.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.