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    Can You Overuse Nasal Spray?

    Three Ways to Lower the Odds

    You can take these steps to avoid getting hooked.

    Try other decongestants. Oral antihistamines and decongestants -- which you take by mouth -- have a different mix of chemical ingredients and don’t all bring the same risks. Some are unsafe for people with high blood pressure, though.

    Switch methods. Use a nasal saline (like a nasal rinse or Neti pot).They can flush out stuffy airways.

    Cut the cord. Don’t use a spray more than once every 12 hours, or longer than 3 days.

    How to End the Cycle

    There’s only one permanent solution -- you have to stop using the nasal spray. It’s probably going to take a few weeks, and the first week will be the hardest.

    Your doctor can help find the best way to ease your discomfort.

    “We sometimes prescribe a short course of oral steroids to help patients get over the initial severe congestion that occurs while trying to quit the nasal decongestants,” Wang says. “We may also recommend other treatments, such as drugs for allergy control, nasal emollients, or alternative therapies.”

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    Reviewed on February 24, 2016

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