Some types of nasal sprays can be used safely whereas others have been shown to, with repeated use, cause overuse complications. While not a true “addiction,” it is the result of damage to the nose that leads to overuse or misuse of nasal sprays.
- Saline nasal sprays are drug-free and are considered to be safe for all ages. They help loosen and thin mucus with no known side effects.
- Steroid nasal sprays contain corticosteroids that help with inflammation, runny nose, and sneezing. The sprays require a doctor’s prescription and have side effects such as headaches, nosebleeds, stunted growth in children and cataracts.
- Antihistamine nasal sprays block histamine that causes allergy symptoms. The cromolyn sodium type is the most common antihistamine spray and is non-addictive.
Because saline nasal spray is drug-free and considered safe, it is often the first choice for mild congestion due to allergies and colds. Neti pots are also an effective way to flush mucus and allergens out of the nose.
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