According to the National Institutes of Health, Americans suffer more than one billion colds each year. Sneezing and sniffling is common this time of year, but folks feeling stuffy need not fret, as relief is just a spray away. But doctors say there are a few precautions to take if using these types of medicine.
Cleveland Clinic pharmacist Angela Giallourakis said nasal congestion can be easily treated with a nasal spray – as long as it’s positioned and used properly.
“You never want it to be directed right at the nasal septum, so that’s that middle portion of your nose,” Giallourakis said. “When you push a spray directly onto it, it can cause some damage on that tissue and you can end up with some irritation or a bloody nose.”
Giallourakis said it’s important to make sure a nasal spray is pointed more towards the back of the nasal cavity so that the product can be inhaled.
It’s also a good idea to blow the nose prior to using a nasal spray, regardless of whether someone is able to completely clear it.
As the product is sprayed or pumped, Giallourakis suggested inhaling slightly for best results. Some products may suggest closing one nostril while spraying into the other nostril, so it’s a good idea to check the instructions to be sure.
Giallourakis said most products can be applied in an upright position and doesn’t recommend tilting the head back.
After spraying, Giallourakis she advises against blowing the nose, to ensure the product remains inside and can take effect.
It’s also important to remember to keep the bottle clean and to only allow one person to use it.
“You never want to share your product with someone else when referring to a nasal spray,” said Giallourakis.
Giallourakis also recommended wiping down the nasal spray bottle after each use to ensure it stays clean and keeping the lid on, if it comes with one.