With a cold, it is one of the most unpopular symptoms: a blocked nose. To make breathing easier again, many plagued people use decongestant nasal spray – but there are some dangers lurking behind it …
Nasal sprays are particularly popular with colds – when the head is pounding and the nose is tight, they are a quick and easy way to make breathing easier again. But there is still uncertainty about the correct use of the little helpers.
Nasal sprays: Popular helpers for swelling the nose
Otolaryngologist Dr. Uso Walter provides information on the dangers of dependency and the correct application. The doctor explains that the nasal spray should only be used if there is an “acute infection of the nose, paranasal sinuses and middle ear”. According to the expert, the swelling can accelerate healing and alleviate symptoms faster.
And this is how nasal spray clears the nose again: “The erectile tissue of the nose – the nasal turbinates – swell due to the narrowing of the blood vessels,” explains Dr. Opposite Walter GQ, So the nose feels freer again and breathing is easier again. However, according to the expert, the effect only lasts about four to a maximum of six hours – afterwards the blood vessels fill up again and thus swell again significantly.
And this is precisely where the danger lies, which is why nasal sprays should only be used for a maximum of one week and only in an interval of eight hours: Because the decongesting effect quickly subsides, the colds use the nasal spray more and more often.
“This leverages the self-regulation of the nose,” explains Dr. Walter. As a result, the nose is only cleared with a nasal spray after a short time, which can ultimately lead to dependency. We explain in the video how to get out of such a situation.
Another negative side effect is the drying out of the mucous membranes, which is promoted by the use of the nasal spray, and “which has disadvantages especially in allergies and elderly patients,” the doctor continued.
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Drying out can cause itching of the skin, severe sneezing, angioneurotic edema and nosebleeds. The expert therefore advises allergy sufferers, pregnant women, elderly patients and people who have very dry nasal mucous membranes to avoid swelling sprays entirely.