If you suffer from allergies, you may know that nasal sprays are frequently recommended. These medications can reduce nasal-related allergy symptoms like a stuffy nose, runny nose, congestion, or sneezing.
But not all nasal allergy sprays are the same. And some work better for one person, but not another. To understand how different nasal sprays provide symptom relief and which is best for you, let’s look at the five common types.
Nasal Saline Rinse
A nasal saline rinse is what most people think of when they think of nasal spray. This is a natural solution consisting of sodium chloride (salt) and water at the same concentration as your body. You can find it over-the-counter (OTC) in a spray bottle or make your own at home and use a neti-pot.
To make saline rinse at home, boil 8 ounces of water and allow it to chill until warm. Add ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt with no additives. Mix until dissolved. If you have severe congestion with heavy mucus discharge, consider making a hypertonic solution by using ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
Saline nasal rinses flush your sinus, washing away allergens that cause allergy symptoms. These sprays also hydrate the nasal passages and can thin mucus.
During allergy season, use these nasal sprays after exposure to allergens or before bed.
Topical Nasal Steroids
Topical nasal steroids are nasal sprays that administer medication into your nasal passage. Popular brands include Flonase, Nasonex, and Rhinocort. You can purchase these OTC medications and use them as needed.
Nasal steroid sprays reduce inflammation in your sinuses and prevent stuffiness and runny noses. If OTC medications don’t improve your symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about prescription-strength nasal steroids.
Take topical nasal steroids to help with hay fever, sinusitis, and symptoms related to other environmental allergens. Know that these medications can take a few days before they offer temporary symptom relief.
Another type of nasal spray is the drying agent Azelastine. This prescription medication works quickly. Because it’s also an antihistamine, it reduces sinus-related allergy symptoms, including itchy, runny, or stuffy nose, sneezing, and post-nasal drip.
Spray it in your nose, and within 15 to 20 minutes, your allergy symptoms begin to lessen.
Mast Cell Stabilizer
The final type of allergy nasal spray is a mast cell stabilizer called NasalCrom. NasalCrom is available OTC and reduces the amount of histamine in your body. It works by stabilizing the cells that release histamine and leads to a reduction of symptoms like runny nose, stuffy nose, itching, and sneezing.
Doctors often recommend this nasal spray for those who don’t find relief from other treatments.
What Allergy Nasal Spray Is Best for You?
If you think nasal sprays may work to reduce your allergies, talk to your doctor. They may recommend starting with an OTC saline spray or, if your allergies are more severe, a steroid nasal spray. Nasal sprays might help temporarily mask your allergy symptoms, but they don’t treat the root cause.
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