Is Nasal Spray Addiction a Cause for Concern?

A runny nose can make everyday life a challenge. If you've been facing this condition for a while, you may have heard of or tried nasal sprays. Nasal sprays can shrink the swollen blood vessels in your nasal passages and provide you with the relief you deserve. They can minimize inflammation and make it easier for you to breathe. Let's take a closer look at the types of nasal sprays available and whether or not it's possible to become addicted to them.

Types of Nasal Sprays

There are a variety of nasal sprays you can use including:

Saline Sprays

Saline sprays can flush out any substances that irritate your nose and lead to inflammation. Since they can moisturize your nose, they're ideal in the colder months, when the air is particularly dry.

Steroid Sprays

If your congestion stems from allergies to pollen, pet dander, and other substances, steroid sprays may help. While some of them are prescribed, you can find over-the-counter options as well.

Antihistamine Sprays

Antihistamine sprays feature antihistamines, which can improve congestion that comes from allergic reactions. Sometimes, they offer greater relief than Benadryl and other oral antihistamines.

Decongestant Sprays

Decongestants sprays constrict blood vessels in the nose. They can be a good option if you're coping with the cold, flu, or another temporary issue. If your runny nose is the result of allergies, decongestant sprays are probably not the right choice.

What is Nasal Spray Dependency?

It's important to understand that nasal sprays should not be used for more than three days. Therefore, it's not a long-term solution for a runny nose. If you use it for too long, the nasal spray may cause congestion instead of prevent it.

While it is possible to become dependent on nasal spray, addiction to it is not typical. So how do you know you depend on nasal spray and overuse it? Here are some telltale signs.

  • You've used nasal spray for more than a week.
  • You've used nasal spray more often than recommended.
  • You experience congestion when you stop using nasal spray.

What to Do If You're Dependent on Nasal Spray

If you believe you're dependent on nasal spray, speak to your doctor. They can perform a physical exam and pinpoint the root cause of the congestion. Once they do, they may prescribe other treatments like allergy medications.


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