With a few more weeks of winter left, millions of
americans are in search of a quick fix for their runny
noses and sinus congestion.
Many turn to over-the-counter nasal sprays.
?but just how safe are they?
Experts want to remind everyone to use them properly.
because if you use them too much, they might do more
harm than good.
News 8's Brittany Schmidt reports.
DOUGLAS -- It's certainly not an uncommon condition."
To relieve congestion, Allergist Douglas Nelson with
Mayo Clinic Health System
says many turn to over-the-counter
A lot of times people use a nasal spray because it's
a very quick fix, it starts working much faster than
tablet medicines do.
There are a lot of people for whom pills that we would
take for decongestion would not be safe.
Pharamcist Rachel Arfstrom at Cass Street Pharmacy
says nasal sprays seem to be an easy and safe solution.
Without having to put a chemical that goes everywhere
in your body, you can just relieve the symptoms in
But just how safe are nasal sprays?
Arfstrom says many over-the-counter nasal sprays are
safe to use up to three days....
Your body really rapidy adapts to the presence of
the nasal spray, so that when you stop taking it,
you get this congestion that's worse than what you
If you keep using them for too long, your nose can
sometimes get overcongested or sort of hooked on that
decongested affect and you get rebound stuffyness
as they wear off
If you find yourself using them for longer periods
of time....you may be showing signs of addiction
It's not so much that it's an addiction in the way
that we think of addication with other medicines where
you crave it and you need that drug, it's that the
medicine works so well.
However, overuse can cause problems.
You can have side effects like your nose becoming
too dry, your nose becoming very irritated, you can
have more nose bleeds.
People can actually get a hole that develops between
the two sides of the nose, like a perferation of the
Those aren't common conditions but it can happen wit
hthat type of treatment.
Nasal sprays can be extremely effective short-term...
but if it doesn't help after about three days...it's
time to look for a better alternative.
If people are using medinicnes and find they have
to keep using it on a chronic basis, whatever the
cause that started it, it's good to seek out and touch
bases with your doctor to make sure there aren't other
ways it can be treated.
IN LA CROSSE, BS, N8
Experts say the biggest battle is trying to get away
from steady use.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your
healthcare provider or pharmacist....
They can help you find a way to reduce the use of