Do you suffer from nasal allergies from exposure to pollen, ragweed, dust or animal dander (a condition commonly referred to as allergic rhinitis)? If so, you probably experience nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing. These common symptoms may cause inflammation of the nasal passages and sinuses, making it difficult to breathe through your nose. For those who cannot tolerate oral antihistamines or decongestants due to the associated side effects of drowsiness or increased blood pressure, certain nasal sprays may provide an effective alternative. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few of the most common types of nasal sprays in order to determine which may be the right choice for you:
1. Azelastine Hydrochloride Antihistamine Nasal Spray
Typically available in prescription form, azelastine nasal spray is recommended for seasonal allergy symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. As most antihistamines are noted for, azelastine blocks histamine, a chemical the body's immune system releases in response to allergen exposure. High levels of histamine in the body may cause symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing and itchiness.
If you are pregnant, your doctor may not recommend the use of this antihistamine nasal spray. Also, you should note that azelastine may cause drowsiness in some individuals. If you are uncertain how you may react to this medication, do not operate machinery or drive a motor vehicle. Also be aware that alcohol consumption may intensify the effect of the drowsiness. Azelastine nasal spray should be stored in a dry location, away from heat and humidity.
2. Fluticasone Nasal Spray
This nasal spray may be available over the counter and in prescription strength. Fluticasone is a type of corticosteroid. This is a steroid hormone that is produced in synthetic form. The main objective of this medication is to reduce inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages. Fluticasone may also reduce mucus in the nose and sinuses, as well as relieve sneezing and itchy eyes.
If your doctor has prescribed the use of fluticasone nasal spray for treating allergic rhinitis, you may be told to use it on a daily basis for it to be most effective. You should note that this type of nasal spray is not intended to provide immediate relief, as other antihistamine nasal sprays often do. It may take a few weeks of regular usage before your symptoms subside and you notice an improvement in your condition. For best results, it is recommended not to blow your nose immediately after using the spray.
If you experience burning, stinging or nosebleeds while using a fluticasone nasal spray, notify your physician. He or she might want to examine your nasal passages for signs of ulceration or a crack in the nasal tissues.
3. Saline Nasal Spray
This type of nasal spray is generally considered to be the safest and most gentle option of all. The reason it is widely recommended is because it is a natural and drug-free preparation of purified saltwater. You may use saline nasal sprays as often as you wish without the concern of side effects. You will find saline nasal sprays in most any pharmacy.
While this type of nasal spray will not reduce watering eyes or stop you from sneezing, it may help flush the nasal passages and sinuses of irritants, excess mucus and allergens, such as pollen in the lining of your nose. By doing so, it may also help relieve some of the sinus pressure associated with nasal allergies. Also, if you experience dry nasal passages from your allergies and from blowing your nose frequently, a saline nasal spray may restore moisture and relieve the dryness.
For more information about your options and the best nasal spray for your needs, consult with your doctor.