Nasal congestion decreases quality of life to a great extent. You can’t breathe normally, experience headaches caused by the lack of oxygen, and cannot feel the taste of food. Nasal drops and sprays are number one treatment in this case but are they absolutely safe? Unfortunately, the majority of non-homeopathy remedies cause side effects. Find out how to diminish those and finally to start breathing freely.
What exactly causes side effects?
It’s not a secret that the majority of modern nasal medications are based on chemical substances, such as Naphazoline, Oxymetazoline, Xylometazoline, Phenylephrine and Tetrizoline. They have a vasoconstrictor effect, i.e. make vessels shrink, which allows breathing freely. However, this benefit comes with adverse effects which can manifest within 1–2 days in some patients, or in 14–30 days in others.
Nasal drops with vasoconstrictor effect cause physical addiction. They should not be used for longer than 5–7 days!
Widespread side effects of nasal drops
The most common side effects of nasal drops and sprays are:
- Burning sensation in the nose;
- Dry nose;
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Pulse disorders.
When using vasoconstrictor nasal drops for longer than the permitted period, a patient may develop drug dependence, which is accompanied by unpleasant or even dangerous symptoms. Note that the side effects of nasal drops might be worsened when combined with other drugs, for instance, oral contraceptives, medications to lower blood pressure, or strong sedatives.
What to do?
All decongestants have side effects, just like any drug. But there are drugs whose negative effects are minimized. According to international studies, xylometazoline has the longest and safest effect, with a lesser tendency to the development of the rebound phenomenon. It is enough to take preparations based on it twice a day. According to its characteristics, drugs based on oxymetazoline are close to it.
It is worth paying attention to the form of release of the drug. It’s one thing if a person buys drops and starts pouring them into the nose with a pipette, and quite another if it’s a spray. The optimal form is a metered spray, aerosol.
It is important to remember that these drugs can be taken for five to seven days. If they do not help, you need to stop self-medication and consult a doctor.
How to minimize the side effects of nasal decongestants?
- Use a spray, not drops. It allows for more efficient distribution of the substance;
- Buy drugs with a dispenser — this way, you will get a lower dosage;
- Combine your treatment with a nasal shower — you should keep air passages clean;
- Use a lower concentration of the med, for example, switch to children drops (for xylometazoline and oxymetazoline — 0.05%, instead of 0.1% solution);
- Use modern drugs that do not cause dependence. Try searching for generic medications. For example, Trusted tablets 911 offers advanced medications with reduced side effects;
If a person has been using vasoconstrictor drugs for a long time, and nasal congestion does not go away, he must definitely contact an otorhinolaryngology specialist. The doctor never starts treatment with an operation. First, he will try to solve the problem with therapeutic methods, for example, by washing the nasal cavity. If that does not help, surgical intervention might be inevitable.
Medication withdrawal: step-by-step instruction
In most cases, the side effects subside after a person ceases using nasal drops. But how to withdraw after a long period of use?
First of all, you need to realize that this is not a disease of the nasal cavity, but the state of the body and the nervous system as a whole. The latter is responsible for the symptoms we experience. Therefore, in order to get rid of the disease, it is necessary to change the lifestyle and strengthen the immune system:
- Take contrast shower;
- Dress according to the weather;
- Get enough sleep;
- Stay physically active;
- Take vitamins when indicated by a doctor;
- Do not perform self-treatment when you’re ill;
- Cease smoking.
If you stick to your old habits, the rhinitis will most likely continue to haunt you. It is important not to forget that treatment is not only the removal of symptoms, but also the impact on the cause of their occurrence, and such a process requires the patient’s own diligence and time.
When you decide to cease taking nasal drops, do it abruptly. Making pauses has no sense! The worst problems with breathing will manifest themselves within the first 2–3 days. However, this torment will pay off in the future. You should rather choose a few days of discomfort than years of feeding addiction, which will be difficult to get rid of.
To relieve difficulty breathing, use your fingers to massage the external part of nose and sinuses under your cheeks. Perform breathing exercises (forced inhalation through the nose and exhalation through the mouth) — it helps greatly over time. The air itself has an expanding effect, the oxygen contained in it dries the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity, and forcing the inhalation increases the vascular tone.
Try to fall asleep by lifting your pillow higher. Be sure to do hot foot baths with mustard powder before bed. The duration of the procedure shouldn’t exceed 5–10 minutes. This contributes to the redistribution of blood flow from the upper parts of the body to the lower ones, due to which the blood congestion of the nasal vessels decreases, edema decreases, the nasal passages expand and breathing is facilitated.
Modern nasal drops are not as harmless as they seem to be. Constant use of chemical drops has a destructive effect on the nasal mucosa. The sense of smell and local immunity decreases, there is a constant sensation of dryness of the nose and formation of crust. But, unfortunately, the negative consequences of such abuse are not limited to this. The effect on blood vessels disrupts blood circulation not only in the nose, but also in the brain. As a result, users suffer from frequent headaches, lethargy, irritability, vision deterioration, and even seizures.
Do not use nasal drops when not indicated by a doctor and never exceed the recommended dosage. There are safer alternatives, and you can make treatment by changing your lifestyle and introducing a few useful habits. Stay healthy!