Nasal steroids are topical, anti-inflammatory, preventative medications for allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies). In contrast, antihistamines are for relief of symptoms.
A nasal steroid spray, Beconase AQ, Flonase, Nasacort AQ, Nasonex, Nasarel, or Rhinocort AQ has been prescribed. These medications should not be used on an occasional basis and work best if used on a daily basis as prescribed for maximal benefit. You may not obtain an improvement immediately, it usually takes about a week before these sprays work. Therefore, call with questions, but do not stop the spray unless instructed to do so.
The spray should be directed slightly outward, away from the center of the nose (septum). Burning, and infrequently nose bleeds may occur, please notify us if this is an ongoing problem. If nose bleeds occur, stop the spray for 2-3 days, then restart being sure to aim outward. Because the nasal steroid sprays are only minimally absorbed, they are very safe.
Nasal steroid sprays are unlike any nasal decongestant sprays that can be bought without a prescription (ie: Afrin or Dristan). Nasal decongestant sprays should not be used for more than 3-5 days. They may worsen congestion and cause rebound symptoms, eventually possibly damaging the inside of the nose. If we recommend the temporary use of nasal decongestants, discontinue the use after 5 days.
Nasalcrom (cromolyn sodium) is an over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, preventative nasal spray which is only effective if used on a regular, consisitent basis up to four times a day!
Astelin is an antihistamine nasal spray which may be prescribed for allergic or non-allergic nasal symptoms. It is not a steroid and should be used as directed.
Environmental measures and allergy shots (immunotherapy) may be useful to help control your nasal symptoms without the regular use of nasal steroid sprays.