If you suffer from allergies or sinusitis, you may use an over-the-counter nose spray to help alleviate congestion. These medicines provide fast, reliable relief at a low cost, and these factors make nose sprays some of the most popular drugs available to consumers. However, there can be side effects caused by the misuse of certain nose sprays, and that is why consumers should understand how to properly use them. Below is more information on topical decongestant nose sprays that can prove helpful to know.
How topical decongestant nose sprays relieve congestion
There are several topical decongestant formulations available on the market for consumers, and they all work by constricting inflamed nasal blood vessels. Causing these blood vessels to shrink has a secondary effect of decreasing swelling in the adjacent tissues. Nasal passages are then opened up, and air can move freely once more.
Side effects caused by topical decongestant misuse
While the positive effects achieved by topical decongestant nose sprays are a great source of relief for people, their use on a daily basis can cause negative side effects. The most common problem is rhinitis medicamentosa, which is also known as the rebound effect.
Rhinitis medicamentosa occurs due to complex physiological activity inside the nose, and correcting it can sometimes be difficult to achieve. That is why preventing the development of rhinitis medicamentosa is of the utmost importance. Here are a few hints to help prevent rhinitis medicamentosa.
Limit nose-spray use to a few consecutive days at a time - Most manufacturers recommend their product be used only a few days at a time; time periods between three and five days are commonplace. If you exceed this limit, you are much more likely to develop rhinitis medicamentosa.
Alternate nose-spray types - Another helpful strategy for topical nose-spray users is to blend their usage with non-topical decongestant sprays. For example, you may wish to blend in a regimen of saline spray to help prevent rhinitis medicamentosa.
Consider using steroid-based nose sprays - An effective strategy when dealing with long-term congestion problems is to utilize steroid-based nose sprays. These products act topically but in a different manner that does not induce the rebound effect. It is important to recognize that other types of nose sprays that utilize steroid formulations do not function in the same manner as topical decongestants; this means they are safe for daily use.
Use a nasal strip - Nasal strips, which are essentially tape attached to strengthening "ribs" made from plastic, can provide relief for congestion sufferers. These strips can be used as much as desired, and though they may not provide the same degree of relief in extreme cases, they are still able to help prevent misuse of topical decongestants. Be sure to match the correct strip size with your nose size when purchasing them; otherwise the strips will not provide enough lifting of the skin to function.
What can be done to alleviate rhinitis medicamentosa
Despite your best efforts, it is possible to develop rhinitis medicamentosa. Below are a few ways you can treat this condition.
Quit completely - While this is the hardest method of ending the cycle of nose-spray use, it often works best for some sufferers. Quitting suddenly and completely can be best for individuals who wish to quickly move on with their lives.
Alternate nostrils - Another method for quitting in the face of rhinitis medicamentosa is to alternate nostrils for inhaling the spray. For example, on a Monday night, you may spray the decongestant into your right nostril, while on Tuesday, you may use the left nostril. This will help break the hold of the rebound effect on the nose without causing too much inconvenience for the student.
Use steroid nose sprays - While often not as immediate in their reaction, steroid nose sprays can offer relief from congestion and also provide an alternative for topical decongestants.
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