Best Nasal Sprays for Allergy Symptoms

When allergies attack, using a nasal spray can provide some relief. There is a large variety of nasal spray types, most of which take effect much quickly than oral medications.

Some effective nasal sprays are available over-the-counter, but if your nasal congestion or runny nose is severe and stubborn, your doctor may recommend prescription-strength nasal sprays.


Nasal decongestant sprays shrivel inflamed blood vessels and tissues in the nasal cavity that result in congestion. Some good over-the-counter sprays include Afrin and Dristan, whose main ingredient is oxymetazoline hydrochloride, and also Neo-Synephrine which contains phenylephrine hydrochloride.

Avoid using decongestants for over three days as prolonged use of these medicines can contribute to more persistent stuffiness. If you have hypertension or glaucoma, discuss the use of decongestant nasal sprays with your primary physician before using any.


Nasal sprays containing an antihistamine can also ease a runny nose, sneezing, and stuffiness. Antihistamine sprays are not available over-the-counter, only by prescription. Some commonly prescribed names include Astelin and Patanase, containing azelastine and olopatadine respectively. Compared to oral antihistamines, these sprays do not cause as much drowsiness, but they may still cause some sleepiness.


Steroid sprays are highly effective in lessening the inflammation in the nose, allowing for breathing more easily. These sprays can also relieve post-nasal dripping. Steroid nasal sprays are usually the most preferred treatment method for allergies. Though, they take up to a couple of weeks to improve symptoms. The most common prescription-strength steroid sprays are Beconase (beclomethasone), Flonase (fluticasone propionate), and Zetonna (ciclesonide). There are only a few over-the-counter options, which are Flonase Allergy Relief, Nasacort Allergy, and Rhinocort Allergy.


This spray contains cromolyn sodium and relieves a runny and stuffy nose by stopping the release of histamine in the body. It usually takes effect in 30 minutes, but it is most effective when you begin using it a few times a day, a couple of weeks prior to the start of allergy season. NasalCrom is available at most drugstores.

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Posted on May 22, 2023