Asthma and Allergy Network

Using nasal sprays to treat asthma and allergy

Nasal sprays are often used by people with allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, to take their intranasal corticosteroids. Nasal sprays are effective medicines for managing allergic rhinitis, have a good safety profile and can be used every day long term, are intended for everyday use. Using your nasal inhaler spray properly is important. With the right technique you can be sure that the medicine is getting where it needs to, and you can reduce the chance of experiencing side-effects like nosebleeds.

Nasal sprays can be used in combination with other asthma medications to reduce inflammation in the lungs and help provide asthma relief. Although the delivery methods can vary, most nasal sprays work by instilling a fine mist into the nostril by way of a hand-operated pump mechanism.

Nasal sprays come in a variety of medicated and natural forms and the main ones are:

Antihistamine Nasal Sprays

Antihistamine sprays are only available on prescription and prevent the histamine your body produces from causing the allergic symptoms. They start to work within 30 minutes of using them but since they can react with other drugs it is important to speak with your doctor to find out if any drugs or conditions you may be taking would preclude you from using an antihistamine nasal spray.

Topical Decongestant Nasal Sprays

These can be purchased over the counter and work quickly to open up nasal passages by constricting blood vessels in the lining of the nose. Long term use of this type of nasal spray can make congestion worse and lead to serious side effects therefore they should only be used for temporary relief of a stuffy nose and sinus congestion. You can talk with your doctor for more information.

Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays

These types of nasal spray will reduce inflammation and histamine product in nasal passages which in turn will relieve nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sinus pain and headaches. If they are used too often they can cause nose bleeds, nasal burning and overall irritation in the nasal cavities. They need to be used on a regular basis to be effective and tend to take several days to start working.

Natural Nasal Sprays

These are usually purchased over the counter and produce a mist of saline solution into the nasal passage which helps moisturise dry or irritated nostrils. They can also relieve nasal congestion and remove airborne irritants like pollen and dust which will provide sinus relief.

It is important that any of the above nasal sprays are not seen as a substitute to asthma medication and that they should be used in conjunction with your normal asthma treatments to help relieve asthma symptoms. Using a nasal spray should be discussed with your medical professional.