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Understanding The Difference Between Three Common Types Of Nasal Sprays

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Battling congestion, facial pain, headaches, or a runny, stuffed up, or itchy nose isn't fun, but you don't have to suffer in silence waiting for the symptoms — or allergy season — to pass. Using a nasal spray is simple. However, before using a nasal spray, you need to understand the difference between the three common types of nasal sprays available — decongestant nasal sprays, salt-water solutions, and steroid nasal sprays — so that you can choose the one that fits your needs.

Salt-Water Solutions

Salt-water solutions — also known as saline nasal sprays — are a good option for people who prefer natural treatments or battle seasonal allergies to common irritants such as pollen. The spray doesn't contain any medication, so you don't need a prescription to purchase it, and you can use it as often as you'd like without issues.

A saltwater solution works by restoring moisture to your nasal passages and sinus cavities, which loosens any mucus caked in your nose so you can breathe easier. Many people use a saline nasal spray at night to help prevent their nasal passage from drying out or before using a decongestant or steroid nasal spray to clear mucus from their nostrils.

Decongestant Nasal Sprays

Decongestant nasal sprays are a good option for people who are experiencing the beginning stages of a sinus infection or a cold. Like saltwater solutions, they provide you with instant stuffy nose relief by shrinking the blood vessels that sit inside the lining of your nose, which condenses swollen tissues. Keep in mind, while a decongestant nasal spray will help relieve congestion and a stuffy nose, it will not keep you from sneezing or stop your nose from itching.

Decongestant nasal sprays are effective when used properly, but you shouldn't use a decongestant nasal spray more than twice a day or longer than a couple of consecutive days. If you don't follow the instructions included with your decongestant nasal spray, you could end up being more congested when the spray wears off than you were when you first used it. Also, continued overuse of decongestant nasal sprays can lead to rhinitis medicamentosa, a chronic nasal condition.

Steroid Nasal Sprays

Steroid nasal sprays help relieve allergy symptoms but are also sometimes used to clear up a stuffy nose that's caused from a sinus infection. In addition to treating allergy-related symptoms, such as a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, an itchy nose, or a swollen nasal passageway, steroid nasal sprays can be used to relieve symptoms from nasal polyps — benign growths that can form in the lining of your nasal passage.

Steroid nasal sprays don't provide immediate relief. They are used as part of a long-term treatment plan and can take up to two weeks to start working. Because you can use a steroid nasal spray on a long-term basis, it's a good option for people who suffer from severe allergies or frequent sinus infections. Many seasonal allergy sufferers start using a steroid nasal spray right before allergy season begins to decrease their allergy symptoms throughout the season.

You can purchase a steroid nasal spray over the counter, but allowing your doctor to prescribe a steroid nasal spray, such as fluticasone nasal spray, for you is a good idea. This way, your doctor can put you on a daily schedule and tell you exactly how many times you should spray your nostrils each day.  

The type of nasal spray that you use to relieve your symptoms depends on the type of symptoms you're experiencing, your preference, and the length of time you need to use them. If you're not sure which type of nasal spray is right for you, consult your doctor before using one.

For more information, contact Dymista or a similar company.