Steroid nasal sprays; Allergies - nasal corticosteroid sprays
A nasal corticosteroid spray is a medicine to help make breathing through the nose easier.
This medicine is sprayed into the nose to relieve stuffiness.
A nasal corticosteroid spray reduces swelling and mucus in the nasal passageway. The sprays work well for treating:
A nasal corticosteroid spray is different from other nasal sprays you can buy at the store to relieve symptoms of a cold.
A corticosteroid spray works best when it is used every day. Your health care provider will recommend a daily schedule of the number of sprays for each nostril.
You may also use the spray only when you need it, or as needed along with regular use. Regular use gives you better results.
It may take 2 weeks or more for your symptoms to improve. Be patient. Relieving the symptoms can help you feel and sleep better and lessen your symptoms during the day.
Starting a corticosteroid spray at the beginning of pollen season will work best for decreasing symptoms during that season.
Several brands of nasal corticosteroid sprays are available. They all have similar effects. Some require a prescription, but you can buy some without one.
Make sure you understand your dosing instructions. Spray only the number of prescribed sprays in each nostril. Read the package instructions before using your spray the first time.
Most corticosteroid sprays suggest the following steps:
Avoid sneezing or blowing your nose right after spraying.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays are safe for all adults. Some types are safe for children (age 2 and older). Pregnant women can safely use corticosteroid sprays. Your provider will decide which ones have the best safety record in pregnancy.
The sprays usually work only in the nasal passageway. They do not affect other parts of your body unless you use too much.
Side effects may include any of these symptoms:
Make sure you or your child uses the spray exactly as prescribed to avoid side effects. If you or your child uses the spray regularly, ask your provider to examine your nasal passages now and then to make sure problems are not developing.
Contact your provider if you have:
American Academy of Family Physicians website. Nasal sprays: how to use them correctly. familydoctor.org/nasal-sprays-how-to-use-them-correctly. Updated September 28, 2020. Accessed January 6, 2022.
Corren J, Baroody FM, Togias A. Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. In: Burks AW, Holgate ST, O'Hehis RE, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 40.
Seidman MD, Gurgel RK, Lin SY, et al; Guideline Otolaryngology Development Group. AAO-HNSF. Clinical practice guideline: allergic rhinitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015;152(1 Suppl):S1-S43. PMID: 25644617 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25644617/.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 10/30/2021
Reviewed By: Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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