Stay Away From Nasal Decongestants

Nasal sprays can do more harm than good in the long run.

Sanaz Majd, MD
1-minute read

So you have a runny or stuffy nose that won’t let up – what’s the logical next step?  Let’s run to the drug store and try some of these over-the-counter nasal sprays, right? 


Some of these OTC sprays can actually do the opposite in the long run!  Once the nasal spray wears off, your nose will run hard to place first place in that marathon. Your symptoms not only may return, but they return even worse.  Doctor’s call this a “rebound” phenomenon, in which spraying the nose causes you to want to spray even more and turns this into a nasty cycle of overuse and the sniffles.  Your nose actually becomes dependent on these sprays and wants more and more of it. Nasal saline products are fine, but I would avoid any OTC decongestants.

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Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

About the Author

Sanaz Majd, MD

Dr. Sanaz Majd is a board-certified Family Medicine physician who graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Her special interests are women's health and patient education.