David Poon, BSc. Immunology and Infection, PharmD Student
I’ve gotten this question so many times already at the pharmacy! “What do you recommend for my stuffy nose?” Let’s face it, we’re in mid-November now and the cold is rearing its ugly head again. I have a stuffy nose right now too, so this article will hopefully be helpful for you and me.
A stuffy nose is an unhappy nose. Decongestants are often the first thing people think of once their nasal passages becomes plugged. It’s just uncomfortable when you aren’t able to breathe properly. Nasal sprays containing xylometazoline, oxymetazoline, phenylephrine or naphazoline may provide immediate relief, however shouldn’t be used for more than 3-5 days because of the risk of rebound medicamentosa where you become dependent of the nasal decongestant for congestion relief. Alternatively, there are oral decongestants available, such as pseudoephedrine. Unfortunately, oral options come with their own risks and should be avoided in patients with severe hypertension and coronary artery disease. Caution should be warranted in those with closed-angle glaucoma, diabetes and in males with prostate related conditions.
Are There Other Options?
Yes, there is hope if decongestants aren’t an option. Nasal saline in the form of drops, spray or Neti pot are safer options for longer-term use, compared to decongestants. These are also options available to children, adults, and women who are either pregnant or breastfeeding. When it comes to infants, the best option is to simply use a bulb syringe. This fancy instrument, simply sucks the snot out of your infants nose, helping them breathe better.
The Bottom Line
WIth this information clears up any questions or confusion surrounding nasal congestion. Did you catch that previous pun? No? Okay, I’ll sticking to writing Orbis Health articles. For more information surrounding the cold and dealing with other symptoms, check out our other article that has tons of information about the common cold. For more information about anything in this article, speak to your local health care professional.
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1. Lynch, T. (2018). Viral Rhinitis. RxTx.