Make sure you are prepped and ready as the pollen count rises this season! We want to help by breaking down some important items to consider when picking an over the counter nasal spray.
Nasal sprays are very popular due to their convenience and effectiveness. There are several types of nasal sprays, including:
- Decongestants (Afrin, etc)
- Antihistamines (Patanase, by prescription only)
- Nasal Steroid sprays (Flonase, etc).
The first choice for treatment of seasonal allergies are nasal steroid sprays which contain a safe, topical steroid as the active ingredient. They work to decrease swelling which causes congestion, watery drippy nose and sneezing. The nasal steroid sprays are most effective when used daily for the season. It may take a few weeks for the spray to begin working fully, but patience pays off.
This allergy season there are two new nasal steroid sprays that are new to the shelves, Flonase Sensimist and ClariSpray. Both products contain fluticasone. Despite looking like Claritin in terms of the colors, packaging and graphics, the ClariSpray does contain a steroid (similar to Flonase) not an antihistamine. It is important to review the active ingredient labels when purchasing over the counter products. This will prevent you from getting twice the amount of medication by taking similar ingredients.
Other available products over the counter include Rhinocort Allergy, Flonase Allergy Relief and Nasacort Allergy, along with the various generic store versions for many of these branded products above. As always, you should reach out to your pharmacist to discuss what options are best depending on your symptoms.