If you have seasonal allergies, then your allergist may suggest a regimen of medications to keep your symptoms in check. These medications are likely to include antihistamines, and nasal steroids may be prescribed as well. Keep reading to learn a bit about these steroids and how to use them effectively.
What Are Nasal Steroids?
Nasal steroids are a group of corticosteroids that are used inside the nasal passages to reduce the swelling caused by allergic rhinitis. This reduction in swelling will, in turn, reduce the mucus that builds in the sinuses and makes you feel congested.
The steroids that are used in the spray are artificially produced, but they are very similar to the ones that your own body makes. Specifically, these are the chemicals made by the adrenal glands. They are not the same types of steroids that individuals use to bulk up their muscles. The man-made corticosteroids are not only similar to the ones that the body produces, but they act in the same way that the natural ones do. This is one reason why they are not harmful to the body like the illegal steroids used by athletes.
Since the corticosteroids mimic the anti-inflammatory response produced by the natural chemicals of your own body, they are safe to use long term. Typically, your allergist will tell you to use the spray daily until your allergy season is over. If your season runs all year round, then you can also use the spray all year.
How Do You Use The Spray?
Nasal steroids are fairly easy to use. You should blow your nose beforehand, so the medicine has an opportunity to reach the tissues of the nose. This is where you want the spray to reduce the inflammation. You also should wash your hands. Your hands can easily transfer bacteria to the nose, and allergic rhinitis conditions can leave you vulnerable to sinus infections.
Shake the spray gently and leave your head in an upright position. Since most sprays are mists, you will not need to sniff strongly as you would with other types of sprays, like the ones used when you have a cold. Use your finger to press on one nostril and insert the spray head into the other nostril. Use the plunger to release the spray into the nose and gently inhale.
Repeat the process on the other nostril. Do not blow your nose afterward. You want to give the medication time to absorb into the mucous membranes that line the nasal passages. Contact an allergy treatment center for more information and assistance.