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How To Use a Nasal Spray

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Updated March 17, 2008

How To Use a Nasal Spray

The correct use of a nasal spray is accomplished by holding the nasal spray in the palm of one hand while inserting the nozzle into the opposite nostril. This ensures that the tip of the spray nozzle is aiming towards the outside of the nose.

Photo © Daniel More, MD
Most people don't bother to read the instructions on how to use a nasal spray. It seems obvious, right? Yet the majority of my patients do it incorrectly. The most common mistake is tilting the head back, spraying the medication into the nose and snorting forcefully. Unfortunately, this puts most of the medication into the throat, causing a bad taste in the mouth.

Learn the correct method of using a nasal spray.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. Blow any excess mucus from the nose into a facial tissue.
  2. Ensure that the nasal spray device has been is spraying freely. (Give it a pump or two into the air before using.)
  3. Tilt your head down, looking toward the floor.
  4. Hold the nasal spray device in your right hand, and place the tip of the device into your left nostril, aiming toward the outer part of the nostril. This ensures that the spray stays off of the nasal septum (the hard structure in the middle of the nose that divides the two nasal passages), which could result in bleeding.
  5. Pump the nasal spray while sniffing gently. Do not snort; rather, sniff gently as if you are smelling food or a flower. Use the number of sprays prescribed by your doctor.
  6. Repeat the process while holding the nasal spray in the left hand for the right nostril.
  7. You're done! There is no need to pinch either nostril, tilt your head back or perform any other silly maneuver.
  8. If you experience any irritation in the nose or notice any bleeding from the nose, you should stop using the nasal spray for 3 to 5 days and try again. If the irritation or bleeding persists with continued use of the medication, stop using the nasal spray and check with your doctor.

What You Need

  • Prescribed allergy nasal spray
  • Nasal tissue
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