A runny nose and a blocked nose are the most common symptoms of a common cold, which afflict many of us, especially in the winter months. An easy solution, albeit a temporary one, is the use of a decongestant nasal spray. In fact, a medical prescription is not even required in order to purchase one in Greece and in most countries of the world. 

What we need to know about these sprays, in order to get the best result but also to avoid unpleasant side effects and problems:

  • The use of decongestant spray should not be more than 7 days!
  • Decongestant sprays work by causing the blood vessels in the nose to constrict causing the inside lining to shrink, thus, breathing becomes easier.
  • Simultaneously, the glands that produce the mucus also contract, therefore, secretion also decreases.
    Nasal Spray.eviasis

    Blocked Nose.Nasal Spray

However, prolonged use of nasal spray can have unpleasant effects, the main of which are:

  • Addiction: A larger and larger dose is required, for the same effect, while without a spray, the nose is always blocked.
  • Rebound effect: When, finally, the use is stopped, the nose is more clogged than before.
  • Medicinal rhinitis: Prolonged or chronic use, due to the disturbance of blood supply, causes serious damage to sensitive mucosal cells.

Are cortisocosteroid nasal sprays dangerous?

Nasal sprays that contain only corticosteroids do not cause immediate decongestion, so there is no point in using them for colds or other acute inflammations of the nose. These sprays are indicated in chronic rhinitis or sinusitis and nasal polyps, where they relieve or, often, control chronic inflammation.

The continuous use of sprays containing only cortisocosteroids is allowed, and for very long periods of time, always with the guidance of a specialist doctor. The reason is that the medicine they contain is absorbed into the circulation in zero or negligible amounts, hence, our nose gets cortisone but not us! Thus, the serious side effects of chronic cortisone use, such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc., are not caused.

At the same time, cortisone, when used topically in the nose, does not cause addiction and medicinal rhinitis, as with decongestants.

In conclusion, we should emphasize that it is not nasal sprays containing cortisone that are dangerous for prolonged use, but those containing decongestants!

How should nasal spray be used?

  • Decongestant sprays are typically used 3 or 4 times a day, for 3 to 5 days.
  • Cortisone sprays are used in therapeutic regimens longer than one month, usually 3-6 months (always according to the doctor’s instructions).
  • Before the first use, it is recommended to spray into the air, so that the dosing vial is filled and the correct dose is administered from the first spray.
  • Before using all sprays, it is good to blow our nose so that it is clear of secretions when it comes into contact with the medicine.
  • Spraying is more effective if we close the nostril we are not spraying with our finger.

Finally, it is good to avoid inhaling strongly, at the same time as spraying. This causes a large amount of the medicine is drawn towards the pharynx and does not reach the nasal mucosa.