Thursday, December 19, 2013

So Why Do Decongestant Inhalers Burn

Decongestant inhalers may cause discomfort.

Decongestant inhalers are generally useful for temporary relief of sinus congestion, though they contain ingredients that may cause discomfort, such as burning or stinging. Many inhalers can be bought over the counter. If you purchase one of these, you shouldn't share it with other people, since you can further spread illness.


Camphor oil is extracted from the leaves of a camphor tree. This oil is used in a variety of medications that treat such upper respiratory problems as congestion and coughing. When the oil, or vapors from it, comes in contact with fluid, it creates a soothing layer along the membranes of the respiratory system. However, people with certain ailments, such as asthma, may suffer negative effects such as a bronchial spasm.

Camphor may also cause burning when coming in contact with cuts. If you have an irritation or cut in your nose, the camphor in the inhaler may causing burning or stinging.


Menthol is present in many decongestant inhalers. Menthol contains chemicals that cause a cooling sensation. This cooling sensation may feel more heightened in sensitive areas, such as nasal passages, and may cause you to feel the cooling sensation as more of a burning or stinging.


When you use over-the-counter decongestant inhalers, mild irritation or burning isn't uncommon. Warnings that list these as mild side effects are usually printed on the packaging. If you use these products and experience discomfort that you think is more than mild, discontinue use and consult your doctor immediately.

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