Nasal sprays for cold relief
Nasal sprays, also called nose sprays, are a commonly used treatment for
colds which is available both over-the-counter and by prescription. Nasal
congestion or blockage is one of the most common symptoms of colds and
allergies. Nasal sprays can work quickly to ease congestion and remedy signs of
How do nasal sprays work?
Nasal sprays may help treat nasal allergy symptoms and cold symptoms. Sprays
that are used to treat cold symptoms are available in two forms:
- Decongestant nasal sprays. These nasal sprays are available
over-the-counter and by prescription. They help to clear nasal passages by
causing blood vessels in the lining of the nose to constrict This reduces
stuffiness and congestion. These nasal sprays should not be used for more than
three days, depending on the medication, in order to prevent worsening of the
congestion. When congestion worsens after using nasal sprays, it's called a
- Salt water solutions. These saline nasal sprays are available
over-the-counter to relieve mild congestion, loosen mucus, and prevent
crusting. They contain no medication and can be used as frequently as needed
without causing additional problems.
How do you use nasal sprays?
Here are the steps to follow when you use a nasal spray:
- Clear your nasal passageway by blowing your nose.
- Take the cap off the bottle and follow directions for shaking the bottle if
- Before you spray the medication into your nose, block one nostril by
pressing a finger against it lightly.
- Put your thumb at the bottom of the pump bottle, or follow the directions
if there is a different delivery system for the spray. The hole at the top of
the bottle should be underneath your open nostril.
- Squeeze the pump and sniff gently. Then switch to the other nostril and
repeat the process.
- In order to keep the medication in your nose, don't blow your nose right
away, and try not to sneeze.
It's important that you follow directions from your GP or from the medicine
package about the number of times per day you should use the medicine.
Who should not use nasal sprays?
Some people would be well advised to avoid using some nasal sprays to remedy
a cold. This includes people who have hypertension (high blood pressure) or
other cardiovascular conditions, diabetes mellitus, thyroid problems, or
urinary problems from benign prostatic hypertrophy, also known as an enlarged
prostate. Decongestant products, including nasal sprays, can raise blood
pressure and pulse rate. They can also cause tiredness or dizziness. In
addition, some decongestants might interfere with other medications. Check with
your GP before using these products. Saline solutions, however, may be used
safely by anyone.
Can nasal sprays worsen cold symptoms?
A condition known as rhinitis medicamentosa is caused by overusing some
types of sprays. Overuse of nasal sprays causes the medication to become less
effective and nasal congestion symptoms to reappear. This is also known as the
"rebound effect". As a result, a patient who overuses nasal sprays becomes
congested more frequently, and the nasal spray is effective for a shorter
period time each time the patient uses it.