When we use the nasal spray when we have a cold or the flu, the thin blood vessels in the nose contract, causing the tissue to swell. The feeling of a free nose arises, one breathes better and also improves the general condition. But this effect also has side effects, which in the worst case can lead to the nasal spray becoming your daily companion because you can’t do without it.
When does it talk about nasal spray addiction?
The package leaflet of the nasal spray states that the nasal spray should only be used for up to one week. The reason for this is the active ingredients oxymetazoline and xylometazoline, which actually ensure that the nose is clean. When using the nasal spray for too long the nose gets used to the active ingredients considerably. A stuffy nose sensation arises because the mucous membrane is no longer supplied with sufficient blood and not enough oxygen enters the blood. The result is that the spray is now used even more often. A vicious circle begins.
The consequences of nasal spray addiction
A particularly unfortunate consequence of a nasal spray addiction is a smelly nose. This occurs when the nasal mucosa recedes and bacteria settle in the nose. This will make you smell your nose. This smell is barely noticeable for those affected, but all the more evident for those around you: a sweet, rotten or carrion smell is perceived. But it’s not just the unpleasant smell that spreads. The nasal mucosa is dry, more and more crusts and bark (boogers) are formed, nosebleeds are more frequent and the sense of taste and smell are restricted.
A smelly nose is actually not completely curable. However, there are methods to relieve symptoms in the best possible way:
- Nose oils with hyaluronic acid and dexpanthenol
- Sea salt sprays, inhalations and nasal showers
- Special creams for the nose
- Drink two to three liters a day
- avoid dry room air
- vitamins A and E, zinc
Nasal spray weaning: here’s how it works step by step
In order that a smelly nose or other damage to the nasal mucosa does not occur in the first place, you can make sure that the addiction to the nasal spray disappears. There are various possibilities for this:
- Switch to baby nasal spray
One option is to switch to a baby nasal spray. These contain a less active ingredient and can help counter the addiction of eventually getting out of the spray but as soon as possible.
- Replace the nasal spray with a sea salt spray
Sea salt sprays contain only water and sea salt, which breaks down the lining of the nose soothes and nourishes. While it does not provide a decongestant effect, it can be a good substitute for withdrawal.
- Get rid of the active ingredient step by step
For weaning, those affected should use an anti-allergic nasal spray and use it once in the morning and in the evening. The decongestant spray comes only when it is needed, but so use as little as possible. If this is half empty, it becomes with salt water (1 tablespoon of table salt per liter of water). If the spray is even half empty, fill it again with salt water. After about three weeks, abstinence is usually done and there is only salt water in the nasal spray bottle.
However, strong willpower and perseverance are also important at weaning, as the nose will be very stuffy and breathing will be difficult, especially in the beginning. But: for the sake of health, it is worth persevering!