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What are decongestants and how can they help with clearing a stuffed-up nose?

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Decongestants are drugs that shrink the blood vessels inside your nose. This opens up your nasal passages, so air can flow easier through them. You can get these meds as pills or sprays.

You shouldn't use decongestant spray for more than 3 days, because your body may start to rely on them. If this happens, you'll feel even stuffier when you stop using them.

People with medical conditions including high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, glaucoma, or trouble peeing shouldn't use decongestants.

From: Un-Stop That Stuffy Nose WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

CDC: "Symptom Relief."

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: "Saline Sinus Rinse Recipe."

FDA: "Is Rinsing Your Sinuses Safe?"

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: "Antihistamines, Decongestants, and Cold Remedies," "Sinusitis."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Decongestants: OTC Relief for Congestion."

Illinois Academy of Family Physicians: "Treating the Common Cold."

UpToDate: "Pharmacoptherapy of allergic rhinitis."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 13, 2019

SOURCES:

CDC: "Symptom Relief."

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: "Saline Sinus Rinse Recipe."

FDA: "Is Rinsing Your Sinuses Safe?"

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: "Antihistamines, Decongestants, and Cold Remedies," "Sinusitis."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Decongestants: OTC Relief for Congestion."

Illinois Academy of Family Physicians: "Treating the Common Cold."

UpToDate: "Pharmacoptherapy of allergic rhinitis."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 13, 2019

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What are steroid nasal sprays and how can they help with clearing a stuffed-up nose?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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