Allergy symptoms range from minor nasal irritation to severe congestion, runny nose and eye irritation. Over-the-counter allergy medications work to relieve allergy symptoms to make you feel more comfortable. Medication options come in many forms and types to match your needs. Allergy nasal sprays are one form of medication to consider for seasonal and environmental allergies.
Nasal sprays for allergy relief allow you to target the medication directly where you need it. Spraying the mist into the nose provides quick relief of many allergy symptoms. The sprays work best for nasal symptoms like congestion, sneezing, nasal itching, runny nose or dry nasal passages.
Medicated nasal sprays come in different types. Decongestant sprays work primarily to break up congestion, while antihistamine sprays relieve more symptoms, including sneezing, itchiness, congestion, runny nose and postnasal drip. Corticosteroid sprays are usually a prescription medication for both allergy symptom prevention and relief. Plain saline nasal spray does not contain medication, but can help moisturize the nasal passages and relieve some congestion.
Nasal sprays work best when the nose is cleared of mucus. Shake the nasal spray to mix the fluid consistently. Close the opposite nostril with a finger as you spray the liquid into one side of your nose. Always follow the package directions regarding dispensing the correct amount of spray and the length of time between doses. Wiping off the tip after each use keeps the bottle clean.
Side effects often accompany allergy nasal spray use and vary depending on the type of spray. Decongestant sprays might cause increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, dizzy sensations, headache, tremors and difficulty sleeping, according to Mayo Clinic.com. Antihistamine sprays may cause drowsiness, nosebleeds, nausea, nasal irritation, throat problems, dizziness and headaches. Side effects for corticosteroid sprays include nosebleeds, nose irritation and unusual tastes and smells.
Long-term use of decongestant sprays often leads to rebound congestion, which means the symptoms come back when you stop using the spray. MayoClinic.com notes the rebound congestion can occur with use of more than a week. If you notice any unusual side effects, contact your doctor. Before using an over-the-counter nasal spray, ask your doctor for recommendations or potential interactions and problems with other prescriptions or medical conditions.