How do I Choose the Best Allergy Nasal Spray?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2019
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Choosing the best allergy nasal spray is an important consideration. There are other allergy treatments such as a number of oral medicines, but many people mostly experience nasal congestion, and don’t want to take something that might make them feel a little drowsy. The choices come down then to over the counter decongestant sprays, prescribed steroids or antihistamine sprays, or some natural solutions like saltwater sprays that may help relieve congestion. Making a choice means deciding what is most effective and safe, and could require some consultation with a doctor.

Some medicines like Ocean® or saltwater spray can be used without doctor consultation. These may have a high degree of preservatives, which might irritate nasal tissue, though there are some preservative-free formulas in natural food stores. Some people find little squirts of saltwater spray are effective enough, though others do not feel they are adequate when used on their own; they may merely help clear nasal passages of congestion without addressing swelling or continued congestion that allergies may cause.


For some, this means turning to an over the counter decongestant or allergy nasal spray. People are strongly advised not to use these sprays, especially over an extended period. They can become addictive and result in rebound congestion that makes the nasal passages extremely uncomfortable. Those who plan to use a spray through an allergy season should carefully read packaging. If suggested use is limited to a few days, this is for a reason, and overuse or abuse of nasal sprays could create a much worse problem than allergic rhinitis.

People suffering from significant allergies tend to really decide between two different types of allergy nasal spray. These are prescribed medicines that contain corticosteroids or antihistamines. In studies, corticosteroids do tend to be more effective. They are used every day, at least once or twice a day, and they help to reduce inflammation in the sinuses.

Antihistamines treat the present allergic reaction, which means they go immediately to work on allergy attack. These may be used daily too, or some people only use them as needed. They do tend to work faster than steroid sprays, but they don’t offer as much long-term relief or protection from allergy attacks.

Both kinds of the allergy nasal spray that are prescribed have side effects. The most serious of these is caused by steroid sprays and is an increased risk for developing glaucoma. Those who are already at risk will likely be advised not to use a steroid spray. Either spray may cause nosebleeds, sore throat or other symptoms that may cause greater or lesser individual effects. This is when consulting with a doctor becomes important, as a doctor can listen to patient feedback or experience with other allergy medicines to help a person choose the best allergy nasal spray.

In all of these considerations, it is ultimately best to have medical guidance. Doctors can check available sprays against any contraindications for using them by a particular patient. They can also use their significant experience to make best recommendations on most effective allergy nasal spray or a couple of them that are least likely to result in unpleasant side effects.



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