How Do Nasal Sprays Work to Relieve Congestion?

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Whether you have allergies or a cold, nasal congestion is a pain, especially at night when you’re trying to sleep. Nothing is more annoying than having to toss and turn in an attempt to drain stuffiness from one side of your face to the other. One solution is the nasal spray.

What Are Nasal Sprays?

There are several brands of nasal sprays that all do the same thing – constrict the blood vessels in your nose. When you feel stuffy, it’s because the capillaries dilate and leak fluid into the surrounding areas. This leads to a buildup that makes you sound like The Nanny. By forcing the blood vessels to close for a bit, your body has time to clear out the fluids and unstuff your nose.

How Do You Use Them?

Nasal sprays come in little spray bottles. You put them up each nostril and squeeze. There’s no need to inhale while you do this since the spray is pressurized. You might feel the medicine trickling down the back of your throat. To eliminate the discomfort, but you can try drinking some water or tea to get rid of the taste. To make the spray more effective, try gently blowing your nose beforehand. This will clear out some mucus and allow the medication to set in. 


Yes, you can overuse nasal sprays. Only use as instructed on the package! Sometimes, overdoing it can cause more stuffiness. However, in severe cases, surgery may be needed to reverse the damage. Another effect of using too much spray is that your nose becomes desensitized to the drug and it stops responding. You can use nasal sprays along with non-medicated remedies such as steaming or neti pots. There are limits to how many times you can breathe in steam or rinse your sinuses out with saline.


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