Treating spring allergies can be challenging, but using allergy nasal sprays can provide effective relief for nasal allergy symptoms.
Surprisingly, nasal sprays are more effective than oral antihistamines. However, using them regularly is necessary for optimal results, and some people may be hesitant to use them due to the idea of putting medication in their nose.
How to Correctly Use a Nasal Spray
Using a nasal spray correctly is crucial for optimal effectiveness and to minimize the risk of side effects. Unfortunately, many people do not use nasal sprays correctly. To use a nasal spray correctly, follow these steps:2
- Start by blowing your nose to clear any mucus from your nasal passages.
- Shake the bottle of nasal spray and remove the cap.
- Tilt your head down, looking towards the floor.
- Hold the spray bottle in the palm of one hand and place the tip of the nozzle in the opposite nostril, with the nozzle pointing towards the outer part of the nostril.
- As you spray the medication, sniff gently, as if smelling food or a flower. Do not snort the spray as this can cause the medication to go into your throat.
- Alternate sides and repeat sprays as needed until the prescribed amount is delivered into each nostril.
If you experience nasal bleeding, irritation, or other unpleasant side effects, stop using the nasal spray for three to five days and try again. If the side effects persist, discontinue the use of the nasal spray entirely and consult your healthcare provider.
Types of Nasal Sprays
Various types of nasal sprays are available to treat nasal and eye allergy symptoms, including topical nasal steroids, topical nasal antihistamines, topical nasal anticholinergics, and topical nasal mast cell stabilizers.
Some of the previously prescribed nasal sprays, such as Flonase, Rhinocort, Nasacort, NasalCrom, and Astepro, are now available over-the-counter, and it is expected that more previously prescription-only sprays will be approved for over-the-counter use in the future.
Using a corticosteroid nasal spray may help alleviate both nasal and eye allergy symptoms, as the medication can affect the passageway between the nose and eyes, known as the nasolacrimal duct.
Topical Nasal Steroids
Topical corticosteroid nasal sprays are considered the most effective medication class for treating both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis.3 Nowadays, most of these nasal sprays are available over the counter.
Although there may be differences in smell or taste between brands, they generally have similar efficacy.
This group of medications includes the following:
- Triamcinolone (Nasacort AQ)
- Fluticasone furcate (Flonase Sensimist)
- Fluticasone furoate (Veramyst)
- Fluticasone propionate (Flonase)
- Flunisolide (Nasarel)
- Budesonide (Rhinocort Aqua)
- Beclomethasone (Beconase AQ)
- Dymista: a combination of azelastine (antihistamine) and fluticasone (intranasal corticosteroid)
- Xhance: a new nasal spray that uses an exhalation delivery system. Xhance is used in the treatment of nasal polyps, which can occur in some patients with nasal allergy symptoms.
Over-the-Counter Nasal Steroids Pros and Cons
Topical Nasal Antihistamines
Currently, there are two types of medication available in this category: azelastine (Astelin and Astepro) and olopatadine (Patanase). Azelastine is recommended for the treatment of both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis. It has a quick onset of action and is effective in treating all nasal allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion which oral antihistamines may not improve. This medication can be used as needed, and the side effects are typically mild and include nasal irritation.
Topical Nasal Anticholinergics
Atrovent Nasal, a nasal ipratropium medication, is effective in reducing nasal secretions and is commonly prescribed to alleviate symptoms of allergic rhinitis, non-allergic rhinitis, and the common cold. However, it is important to note that it is not effective in treating nasal itching or congestion. While side effects of this medication are generally mild, they may include nasal irritation and dryness.
Topical Nasal Mast Cell Stabilizers
When used before allergen exposure, Cromolyn (NasalCrom) can prevent symptoms of nasal allergies. This medication works by stopping mast cells from releasing chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. However, it is not effective in treating allergy symptoms that have already occurred, making it of limited use for most people.
NasalCrom is now available over the counter without a prescription.
Disclaimer & References:
The information provided by TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track is backed by credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, to ensure accuracy and reliability. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only and is not a replacement for professional medical advice. For any concerns or inquiries about a medical condition, it is recommended to seek advice from a qualified healthcare provider.
- Juel-Berg N, Darling P, Bolvig J, et al. Intranasal corticosteroids compared with oral antihistamines in allergic rhinitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2017;31(1):19–28. doi:10.2500/ajra.2016.30.4397
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays.
- Tran NP, Vickery J, Blaiss MS. Management of rhinitis: allergic and non-allergic. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2011;3(3):148–56. doi:10.4168/aair.2011.3.3.148
- Edwards AM, Hagberg H. Oral and inhaled sodium cromoglicate in the management of systemic mastocytosis: a case report. J Med Case Rep. 2010;4:193. doi:10.1186/1752-1947-4-193
- Kaiser HB, Naclerio RM, Given J, Toler TN, Ellsworth A, Philpot EE. Fluticasone furoate nasal spray: a single treatment option for the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis. J Clin Allergy Immunol.2007;119(6):1430-7. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2007.02.022
- Kariyawasam HH, Scadding G. Seasonal allergic rhinitis: fluticasone propionate and fluticasone furoate therapy evaluated. J Asthma Allergy. 2010;3:19–28.
- Wallace D, Dykewicz M, Bernstein D, et al. The diagnosis and management of rhinitis: an updated practice parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;122(2):S1–84. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2008.06.003