Home Lifestyle Hay fever sufferers need to avoid making this major nasal spray mistake

Hay fever sufferers need to avoid making this major nasal spray mistake

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You might very well be using your nasal spray ‘wrong’. (Picture: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra)

Summer is supposed to be a joyous time, the sun is out and the beach is calling, but if you suffer from hay fever, it can really put a damper on things.

Sneezing and coughing, a runny nose and watery eyes — none of the symptoms are particularly pleasant, so you’ll likely be stocking up on various medications and treatments to alleviate them, such as nasal spray.

This is a common way people relieve their symptoms, and similar products are also used to help with cold and flu. But it seems many of us have been making a major mistake when using nasal sprays, and it’s likely why you’re not feeling any better.

Dr Lawrence Cunningham, a former GP and the medical contributing expert at UK Care Guide, has explained what we’re all doing wrong, and what we should actually be doing instead.

He told Metro.co.uk: ‘In my experience, the most common mistake many people make with nasal spray is inhaling or sniffing sharply when they spray, which can cause the medication to be swallowed rather than absorbed in the nasal passages. This can render the medication less effective.

Hay fever symptoms can be very unpleasant. (Picture: Getty Images)

‘The correct approach is to tilt your head slightly forward and insert the nozzle into one nostril. Aim the spray towards the side of the nose, not straight up, and gently press down on the pump.

‘Holding your breath for a few seconds after spraying can help ensure the medication stays in the nasal passages and doesn’t drip down your throat.’

But that’s not the only error you’re likely guilty of making. If you get a little to spray happy with a nasal spray, you’re also not doing yourself any favours.

Overuse of nasal sprays is another big no-no according to the doctor, who claims it can actually make you sicker for longer.

‘Some people think that if a little is good, more must be better, but this is not the case,’ he says. ‘Overuse can lead to rebound congestion, where nasal passages become more congested once the medication wears off.

‘Another mistake is neglecting to clean the spray nozzle regularly. Over time, the nozzle can become clogged or contaminated, affecting the medication’s delivery and effectiveness.’

But before you think of giving up on the spray entirely, you might want to think again. When used correctly, the nasal sprays can be very ‘effective’, according to Dr Lawrence.

‘I have seen many patients achieve significant relief from their symptoms by correctly using these sprays. They offer targeted relief directly to the nasal passages, which can be more effective than oral medications for some people.

‘However, it’s important to choose the right type of nasal spray. Different formulations, such as saline sprays, steroid sprays, and antihistamine sprays, serve different purposes.’

He adds: ‘Consulting with your GP or pharmacist to determine the most appropriate type for your symptoms can help ensure you’re not wasting money on a product that isn’t suited to your needs.

‘For some individuals, a combination of treatments may provide the best relief. For example, pairing a nasal spray with oral antihistamines or decongestants can offer more comprehensive symptom management.’

As well as medications, the expert also recommends making a few lifestyle modifications, such as using air purifiers, keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons, and regularly cleaning your living space, as these can also help reduce exposure to allergens.

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