There are many ways to treat allergic rhinitis, also known as nasal allergies or hay fever. One way is with a nasal spray. But there are many types of nasal sprays available over the counter and as prescriptions, and knowing which one to use can be overwhelming. Below we review some of the different types of nasal sprays and how they help relieve allergy symptoms.
Steroid Nasal Sprays
Steroid nasal sprays are usually the first line of defense against nasal allergies. They work by decreasing inflammation in the nasal passageways. It’s important to use them once or twice a day for maximum efficacy. They are available both over the counter and as a prescription.
Antihistamine Nasal Sprays
Antihistamine nasal sprays work by blocking the production of the chemical histamine, which is released by the immune system during an allergy attack. In this way, antihistamine nasal sprays can either prevent or stop an allergic reaction.
Combination Nasal Sprays
Some nasal sprays contain both steroids and antihistamines; however, this type of medication is only available as a prescription.
Decongestant Nasal Sprays
Decongestant nasal sprays provide short-term relief for nasal allergies and work by constricting the blood vessels in the nose to reduce inflammation. They should not be used for more than three days in a row, or they can become addictive, causing what is known as a rebound nasal congestion effect. They are available over the counter.
Anticholinergic Nasal Sprays
Anticholinergic nasal sprays help with both allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. They block acetylcholine to decrease secretions from the glands in the nasal passageways.
Saline Nasal Sprays
Saline nasal sprays work by thinning your mucus and clearing your nasal and sinus cavities. You can make saline nasal spray at home using distilled water and salt, or you can buy it at Huntsville Compounding Pharmacy on Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard. Alternatively, you can administer it as a nasal irrigation or rinse using a Neti pot to completely flush out the nasal and sinus cavities.
For more information about nasal sprays to treat allergies, or to schedule an appointment with an expert allergist, call North Alabama ENT Associates today.