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Nasal Steroids - Safe Allergy Relief

Posted by Drew Mandish on

Nasal steroids are important medicines to help treat allergic rhinitis or hay fever. They are helpful in reducing nasal inflammation, nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing. Other medicines available to treat hay fever include oral antihistamines, nasal antihistamines, anti-leukotriene modifiers and nasal saline. Recently, the FDA approved nasal triamcinolone for over-the-counter use which means that consumers will soon be able to purchase a nasal steroid spray without a prescription. Although these nasal steroids are safe under a medical provider’s care, they do have some potential risks and concerns:

  1. Symptoms of hay fever can be similar to other ailments like sinus infections, viral colds, and chronic sinus inflammation. If you have cold-like symptoms outside of those normal to your hay fever, please see your health care provider.
  2. Nasal steroids can lead to nose bleeds that can be very concerning to patients, which is why proper usage and technique are important. Your health care provider can examine the nasal tissues to make sure no damage is occurring.
  3. Side effects involving the eyes, which include glaucoma and cataracts, are potential yet uncommon risk factors of topical steroids. Those at risk for these conditions should talk with their physician.
Unlike taking a pill, the way you use the nasal spray is important. It is important to avoid spraying the medicine into the middle of the nose, the septum bone that separates the nostrils. Sometimes it helps to use a mirror, or have another person or doctor make sure this is being done correctly. If you do not use the medicine correctly, it may not work, or worse, could cause serious side effects. When used properly, nasal steroid sprays can be very effective at treating allergies. It is just important to recognize that steroid nose sprays can create risks if not monitored or used correctly. As with all medications, the benefits and risks should be weighed before deciding on a treatment plan. Your allergist is trained to help you navigate the best treatment course and monitor your health. Your provider can explain the benefits and risks of these treatments and answer any concerns you may have. Together, you and your allergist can decide the best treatment plan.

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