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Using a Nasal Steroid Spray: Care Instructions

Woman using nasal spray

Your Care Instructions

Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray for your allergy symptoms or sinus problems.

These sprays reduce the swelling inside the nose and sinuses. Unlike decongestant nasal sprays, steroid sprays won't lead to more swelling when you stop taking them.

These sprays start working in a few days, but it may take several weeks before you get the full effect.

Most side effects are minor. The most common complaint is a burning feeling in the nose right after the spray is used. Some people get nosebleeds.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Here are some tips for using these sprays:

  • You may need to prime the sprayer before you use it. This means spraying it into the air a few times to make sure you get the right amount of medicine. Follow the directions on the label.
  • Blow your nose before you spray. This will help clear out your nostrils.
  • Gently sniff the medicine into your nose as you spray. Don't snort, or the medicine will go all the way into your throat where it won't do much good.
  • Aim the nozzle straight toward the outer wall of your nostril. This will help keep the medicine from irritating the inner walls of your nose, especially your septum (the wall that separates your left and right nostrils).
  • Don't blow your nose for 10 minutes or so after you spray. And try not to sneeze.
  • Use this medicine exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Clean your sprayer once a week. Read the label to learn how.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.