Nasal sprays are used to deliver medications into your nostrils. Most often, they are used to treat allergy or cold symptoms, such as itching, sneezing, or nasal congestion. Some nasal sprays, however, deliver medications that act elsewhere in the body. The lining of your nose is rich in blood vessels, and medications can be absorbed easily into your bloodstream.
Nasal sprays are available by prescription and over the counter, depending on the medication.
Most nasal sprays work by introducing a fine mist of the medication into your nostrils by the action of a hand-operated pump bottle.
A variety of medications come as nasal sprays, and instructions for how to use them may vary. Your nasal spray should come with a specific set of instructions. If you are not sure, ask your pharmacist to show you the proper use of your nasal spray. The following is an example of how to use a nasal spray and should work for most nasal medications:
Quick Tip #1: Some nasal sprays need to be primed each day before use. If your nasal spray needs to be primed before using, squirt it a few times into the air until a fine mist comes out. Make sure to keep it away from your eyes.
Sniff gently as you spray the medication as if smelling your favorite food or a flower. Don’t snort the spray, which can cause the medication to go into your throat.
Blow your nose gently to remove mucus from your nasal passages.
Wash your hands with soap and water.
Gently shake the bottle of nasal spray and remove the cap or lid from the bottle. If needed, “prime” before using.
Tilt your head slightly forward and close one nostril by gently pressing against the side of your nose with your finger.
Insert the tip of the nasal spray into the other nostril. Point the tip toward the back and outer side of your nose. Make sure to direct the spray straight back, not up into the tip of your nose.
Squeeze the nasal spray bottle as you begin to slowly breathe in through your nose.
Remove the tip of the nasal spray from your nostril and breath out through your mouth.
Repeat this procedure for your other nostril if you have been told to do so by your doctor or pharmacist. If you are using an over-the-counter nasal spray, make sure to follow the directions and use only the amount of medication recommended.
Replace the lid on the nasal spray bottle.
Try to avoid sneezing or blowing your nose immediately after using the nasal spray.