Can Nasal Sprays Actually Worsen Allergy Symptoms?

When you’ve got a little tickle in your nose, do you reach for an allergy nasal spray?  What if that nasal spray that you use each time you get a sniffle or sneeze is not good for you?  What if, in fact, you’ve become addicted to it?

Urgent care clinics like Popcareplus in Franklin are warning nasal spray users about the dangers of rebound congestion from, and addiction to decongestant allergy nasal sprays.

Overuse of nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms

The active ingredients in nasal sprays help to reduce swelling in nasal tissues that are irritated by a sinusitis or allergy. They offer quick relief (seconds to minutes) with a cool blast of air and medicine, and continue that relief throughout the day.  However, after many days of use, the nasal sprays actually have the opposite effect – they create rebound congestion that can only be relieved with the spray, which in turn causes more swelling of the nasal tissue and so on.

Like many over-the-counter medications, nasal sprays are bringing up the attentions of medical practices and urgent care centers treating patients who are addicted to the relief and caught in the rebound cycle.  Dr. David Vernick, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston says, “It works so well that you tend to keep using it.  You’re used to breathing well with the spray, and when you stop it, you get congested…So you use it a little more frequently, yet the congestion doesn’t clear up for long.” (source)

After multiple days of prolonged nasal spray use, particularly with sprays like Afrin the decongestant cause your nasal tissues to become more inflamed, even when your sinus infection or initial allergy has passed.   Ronald H. Saff, M.D.of the Allergy & Asthma Diagnostic Treatment Center in Tallahassee, Florida, told the Huffington Post that chronic users experience, “A rebound where the nasal congestion is actually worse than before you administered the spray.”  They can also increase frequency and severity of headaches, increase blood pressure, and in very rare cases may perforate the septum.

The moral of the story is that over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays are only to be used for three to four days for some relief while your body fights off a cold, and not as prolonged relief from frequent and persistent allergies.  If you have frequent allergy symptoms, or find yourself with several bottles of decongestant nasal spray in your home, at work, etc., please stop into Popcareplus  urgent care clinic in the Franklin/Oak Creek area to find a more productive and less addictive allergy solution


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