A cold is fraught with unpleasant symptoms. The nasal mucous membranes swell and the nose becomes blocked. In order to breathe freely again, many people use decongestant nasal sprays, available at pharmacies without a prescription. Nasal sprays work quickly and efficiently, but they can also be dangerous if used incorrectly. Therefore, the nasal spray should only be used to relieve the symptoms of an acute infection.
How does the decongestant nasal spray work?
The decongestant nasal spray contains sympathomimetics which cause blood vessels in the lining of the nose to constrict. The narrowing of blood vessels causes the mucous membranes to swell. However, the effects only last four to six hours before the mucous membranes swell again.
Nasal Spray: Almost everyone makes these mistakes
There is nothing wrong with short-term use of nasal spray in case of an acute infection. Be careful to avoid the following errors:
- Use the nasal spray too frequently and for too long: The decongestant nasal spray should only be taken for a few days, maximum one week. Prolonged use will damage the mucous membrane. Additionally, the nasal spray can be addictive, as the nasal mucosa gets used to the spray over time and swells again as the effect wears off. This behavior after using the nasal spray is called the “rebound effect”. Long-term use of nasal spray can lead to a chronic cold. If the spray is not taken, psychological symptoms such as fear of choking can also occur.
- Wrong spraying: Many things can go wrong when spraying. Hygienic handling of the nasal spray is particularly important. After a splash you should take the bottle completely out of your nose before continuing to use it. If it remains in the nose for several sprays, germs from the nose can enter the bottle. This promotes renewed infection by pathogens. The right spray angle is also important. Point the nozzle into the nostril away from the nasal septum to prevent the nasal spray from becoming blocked and causing an unpleasant taste in the throat.
- Lack of hygiene measures: Another mistake is the lack of hygiene when using the nasal spray, although this is particularly important. If the spray opening is not cleaned after use, germs can penetrate and promote reinfection. After use, clean the spray orifice with a clean cloth or, if possible, with warm water. Also, only one person at a time should use a nasal spray to prevent the transmission of germs.