Monday, May 20, 2013

Beat Nasal Spray Addiction

Nasal congestion
occurs when blood vessels in the nasal passages swell because of a cold, allergies or environmental irritation such as smoke or dust. Prescription nasal sprays or over-the-counter steroid sprays quickly clear this congestion, and the relief can prompt people to continue using sprays on a regular basis. This continued use leads to a dependency on the spray, because the person does not have a clear nose unless using the spray. Beating this dependency requires some willpower, because nasal passages will be stuffy for a few days or even a week or two, but certain behavioral changes can help.


Clearing Nasal Congestion

1. Throw out every nasal spray decongestant you have, so you can't easily use one in a moment of weakness. People dependent on nasal spray commonly have more than one bottle, so you'll need to get rid of any that you keep in your medicine cabinet, purse, car, desk at work, or locker at school.

2. Understand the rebound effect. This involves nasal congestion becoming worse after you stop using the spray. Your congestion may become worse than it was originally. The effect will dissipate over a week or two, but this is the point where you need the willpower to not start using the spray again.

3. Substitute saline spray or a Capsaicin pepper-based nasal spray for your usual nasal spray. These sprays are available over the counter and are not habit-forming. You also can make a saline nasal rinse or spray with 1/4 tsp. non-iodized salt and 1/2 cup warm, distilled water.

4. Use a humidifier in your bedroom so you can breathe more easily when sleeping. Dry air can aggravate nasal congestion.

5. Drink hot herbal tea or hot soup, so the steam will help clear your nasal congestion. Avoid caffeinated beverages, which can have a dehydrating effect.

6. Apply warm compresses, such as a warm washcloth, to the sinus area around your nose; this can help loosen mucus.

7. Purchase nasal strips that hold the nostrils open, and wear them while sleeping. Simply opening the nasal passages wider can help.

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