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While there are dozens of medications for treating seasonal allergies and preventing their symptoms in the first place, few are as widely used or fast acting as medicated nasal sprays. The absorbent mucous membrane inside the nasal passages and sinuses absorb medication quickly into the bloodstream so it can begin working. If you're finding it difficult or uncomfortable to adjust to spraying yourself in the nose once or twice a day, try these tips for more effective and comfortable administration.
Prime the Pump
Medicated nasal sprays are calibrated for exact dosage, so your doctor will instruct you to use a certain number of sprays per day for the desired results. This makes a partial spray particularly frustrating because it's hard to tell how much of a dose you received and what you still need. You should give the sprayer a squeeze or two to prime it before inserting it into your nostrils, especially when
Clean the Nozzle
Whether you see anything on the nozzle or not after you use it, your nostrils are full of bacteria and viruses that would love a chance to multiply on the surface of a nasal spray bottle. Cleaning off the nozzle after every use can prevent an accidental sinus infection by reducing the amount of pathogens building up between uses. There's no need to disinfect the nozzle just to keep it clean. As long as only one person is using a particular nasal spray bottle, a simple wipe with a piece of clean facial or toilet tissue will suffice.
Tilt Your Head
Many people tilt their heads far back when using a nasal spray because they assume that it will make the medicine better coat their nasal passages. Unfortunately, this trick backfires and causes more of the spray to run down the back of the throat, which doesn't help with allergies and can cause a painful sore throat. Instead of leaning back, tilt your head forward and down slightly instead. This encourages the spray to stay in the sinuses until it's absorbed, reducing the chances of irritation and giving you a better dose of the active ingredient.
Angle the Spray
How you angle the nozzle tip once it's in your nose also plays a big role in how much irritation and burning you feel after using the spray. Most people accidentally tilt the nozzle inward and towards the septum that separates the two nostrils. The membrane over the septum is particularly sensitive to medicated sprays, so tilting the nozzle outward towards the nostril side instead will reduce any unpleasant sensations. It's also a good way to ensure your medication is absorbed completely and quickly rather than dripping back out or down the throat.
Mix the Mists
Finally, you may need a second nasal spray without any medication in it to protect your nasal passages from irritation. If using your medicated spray is difficult because you feel like it's drying out your sinuses or burning on contact, try using a plain saline mist right before using your medication. Priming the mucous membranes reduces the sensations of the medicated spray without interfering with your ability to absorb the active ingredients.
Don't follow a medicated spray with a plain saline spray or you'll simply wash the treatment out of your nasal passages again. If you're having severe side effects like constant nasal pain or nosebleeds, stop using all nasal sprays and see your doctor for help. You can also click here for more information.