Using a nasal spray for your child with allergies

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How to Choose an Allergy Nasal Spray

Three Methods:

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, a nasal spray can help relieve your symptoms. Some people have allergies year around, and these people may benefit from the use of an allergy nasal spray. There are many different types of sprays on the market, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Once you have decided what type of spray might be useful for you, you should start comparing different brands to find a spray that is both safe to use and effective for your allergies. Of course, if you’re not certain that you have allergies, you should consult a doctor, as they can help you pinpoint the most effective course of action.


Selecting a Type of Spray

  1. Find a nasal steroid spray if you want long term effects.If you have chronic and consistent hay fever or allergic rhinitis, you can work on a long term solution by taking nasal corticosteroid sprays (sometimes just known as nasal steroids) on a regular basis.These sprays are extremely effective at reducing congestion, postnasal drip, and other nose allergies. These may take a few hours or even a few days to have a full effect, but unlike antihistamines, they can stop symptoms after they appear.Some nasal steroid brands include:
    • Flonase (generic name: fluticasone propionate)
    • Nasonex (generic name: mometasone furoate)
    • Nasacort AQ (generic name: triamcinolone acetonide)
    • Veramyst (generic name: fluticasone furoate)
    • Beconase AQ (generic name: beclomethasone)
    • Nasarel (generic name flunisolide)
  2. Choose an antihistamine nasal spray in advance to prevent flares.Antihistamines stop symptoms like runny nose and sneezing by blocking the histamines that are normally released during an allergic reaction, but they must be taken in advance to work.If you know you will be around your allergen, you can take an antihistamine to stop a reaction before it begins. While antihistamines come in a variety of forms, including pills and drops, you can get a prescription for the following nasal sprays from your doctor:
    • Astelin (generic name: azelastine nasal)
    • Astepro (generic name: azelastine nasal)
    • Patanase (generic name: olopatadine)
  3. Use a decongestant if you do not have regular allergies.If this is a rare allergic reaction or if you have not had one before, a decongestant can help. Decongestants can clear temporary allergic reactions, but they will not provide long term relief.Decongestants work by constricting the blood vessels in the nose and thereby decreasing swelling, however they only work up to three or five days maximum. After that you may experience what is called “rebound congestion” as blood vessels will not shrink with the use of a decongestant. That is why you should not use decongestant sprays for longer than three days, and do not use them if you have glaucoma or high blood pressure.You might consider:
    • Afrin (generic name: Oxymetazoline)
    • Sinex Nasal Spray (generic name: phenylephrine nasal)
    • Neo-Synephrine—Nasal (generic name: phenylephrine)

Comparing Options

  1. Ask a pharmacist.Any drug store, grocery, or other store with a pharmacy will have a pharmacist on staff. The pharmacist can give you advice and recommendations on different brands of nasal spray. You can even ask them if it will interact with any other medications you are currently taking. You might ask:
    • Which medication is the most effective for my type of allergies?
    • Should I avoid certain sprays if I have particular medical conditions, such as glaucoma?
    • Is this safe for a pregnant woman to take?
    • Are there any side effects?
    • Let the pharmacist know if you have allergies to other medications or if you have any conditions that might make using a nasal spray difficult (such as a nasal polyp).
  2. Check for interactions with other medications.Medications run the risk of causing severe reactions if they interact poorly with certain other medications. Write down a list of all the medications you take, noting their generic name as well as their brand name. Take this list to a pharmacist. They will be able to tell you if there are any interactions between the drugs.
    • You can also consult the packaging of the medication or look online to see if there are any interactions. Some medications interact with several other drugs, so it is always good to get a pharmacist to help you.
    • You generally do not need to take both a decongestant pill and spray at the same time. One will work just as effectively, and some may cause side effects such as anxiety in high doses.
  3. Watch out for side effects.Most medications have a slight chance of causing side effects. Side effects with nasal sprays can include nose bleeds, blockages, irritation, or drowsiness.Read the packaging of every spray before you buy it, and consider your personal risk. Some people with certain medical conditions are at higher risk of complications.
    • Pregnant women should always consult a doctor before starting a medication, including nasal sprays.
    • Children run a slight risk of slowed physical growth if they use nasal steroids. Avoid giving nasal steroids to your child for more than two months out of the year to help prevent this.
    • If you have high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, glaucoma, or hyperthyroidism, you should not use a decongestant.
  4. Determine how often you want to use it.Some nasal sprays need to be used only once a day; others must be taken three or four times a day for maximum effectiveness.Read each spray’s instructions to see how often you will be required to use the spray, and decide how often you will be able to use it.
  5. Consider trying a generic brand.Generic brands of nasal sprays will have the same active ingredient, dosage, and strength as brand name medications, although they may have different inactive ingredients.These are typically cheaper options that you may want to consider when choosing a nasal spray. Refer to the generic name of a popular brand, and look for alternatives in your local drug store or pharmacy.
    • The generic name of a medication is typically listed after the brand name on the packaging. It will also be listed as an active ingredient on the ingredients’ list.
    • You can compare the active and inactive ingredients, found on the packaging, to see which medications are the most similar to one another.

Diagnosing Your Allergies

  1. Talk to your doctor.There are many conditions that have the same symptoms as seasonal allergies. These include colds, asthma, sinusitis, and nasal polyps.Before you start a nasal spray, make sure that you are really suffering from allergies. Your doctor can not only diagnose your allergy, but they can also recommend the best spray for your particular symptoms.
  2. Track your symptoms.To help you uncover the root of your allergies, you should keep a detailed record of when your symptoms flare up and what you think causes them. Common symptoms for seasonal allergies include itchy eyes, sneezing, and a runny or stuffy nose.On your phone, computer, or in a journal mark down:
    • What time of day do you experience symptoms?
    • Where are you when you feel the symptoms? Outside? Inside?
    • What seems to be the trigger? Is it pollen, dust, mold, or pets?
  3. Get an allergy test.If your allergies are severe, you may want to ask your doctor for an allergy test. These are typically tests where you are pricked with your suspected allergen. The doctor will note what kind of reaction it causes. Allergy tests can be useful for finding the underlying cause of your allergy so that you can choose proper medication and avoid the allergen in the future.

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  • When giving medicine to children under five, consult a doctor first.
  • If you have a reaction to a spray, discontinue use, and contact your doctor.
  • Generic drugs are just as effective as name brand drugs. While they may vary slightly in their inactive ingredients, they must contain the same active ingredients. They are tested just as rigorously as branded drugs.


  • Always read the labels and packaging of medication to learn about its potential interactions and side effects.
  • Always follow the instructions on the side of the bottle or box to make sure that you are properly using the nasal spray.
  • Do not exceed the recommended daily dose for a nasal spray. This may increase your chance of side effects.
  • Steroid nose sprays may be used separately or in conjunction with an oral antihistamine.
  • Steroid nasal sprays have a slow onset of activity and may not take effect for up to two weeks.

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