After suffering allergy season after allergy season, many people will offer their best piece of advice for managing your symptoms. One common recommendation is nasal sprays. This blog dives into how nasal sprays work, how they’re different than oral antihistamines, and how disease-modifying treatment can help reduce the need for symptom relievers over time.
How do nasal sprays work?
There are two different types of nasal sprays that are typically used for allergy control: antihistamine nasal sprays and steroid nasal sprays.
Antihistamine nasal sprays treat the allergy symptoms closest to the nose — this can include sneezing, runny nose, congestion, as well as itchy eyes. Like oral antihistamines, people can start to feel the positive effects shortly after using.
Steroid sprays aim to treat inflammation, helping to widen the airways in the nose and reduce congestion, though they can take several days to kick in. Most are available by prescription, but a few options have been made available over the counter. These are not recommended to be used for long periods of time.
How are they different from oral antihistamines?
While an antihistamine tablet ingested orally can help minimize a multitude of symptoms, the spray works mostly locally — in the nose and airways.
- Oral antihistamines may cause drowsiness, whereas nasal sprays do not
- Nasal sprays help with congestion, where typical antihistamines do not (unless they have an added decongestant)
- Oral antihistamines can help with symptoms beyond the nasal passages, like contact dermatitis or itchiness beyond the nose
Both options can be effective for symptom relief and is often up to the patient on their preference, but neither will address what’s causing the symptoms.
Can you take nasal sprays and antihistamines together?
Like with any medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Going beyond symptom relief
If nothing seems to work after trying to manage your allergies with antihistamines, nasal sprays, and other control measures — it may be time to consider treating the cause of your allergies with immunotherapy.
Allergychoices advocates for the La Crosse Method™ Protocol, a treatment that involves personalized allergy drops that treat the cause of what makes you feel sick. By slowly increasing the dose of your offending allergens, over time, your body learns to not react when exposed.