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What is a Nasal Inhaler?

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  • Written By: Jessica Saras
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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A familiar term for many nasal allergy sufferers, a nasal inhaler is a type of medical device that is used to administer medication for the treatment and prevention of allergies, colds, and other respiratory illnesses. Depending on the user’s symptoms, nasal inhalers may contain a decongestant or an antihistamine medication, usually in the form of vapors. Patients with more severe symptoms may be treated with steroids as well.

As the name suggests, decongestants are used to treat nasal congestion, and work by shrinking swollen tissues in the nose. Antihistamines, on the other hand, serve as a preventative measure, blocking allergic reactions that are often triggered by allergens, or histamines. Many allergy sufferers may use both decongestants and antihistamines to reduce the many symptoms of their allergies, such as sneezing, congestion, watery eyes, and post nasal drip.

Nasal inhalers are generally used to administer a precise amount of medication directly into the affected area, that is, the nose. Before using these types of devices, the user must first blow his or her nose gently in order to remove any excess mucus from the nasal cavity. Following this, the user should then block one nostril by placing one finger over it, and in turn, place the inhaler directly into the opposite nasal passage. Using a metered dose, the nasal inhaler then delivers the medication directly to the lining of the nose, which ensures no other areas of the body are exposed to the drug.

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Although quite different from a nasal inhaler, nasal sprays are often referred to as nasal inhalers as well. Like an inhaler, a nasal spray typically administers a type of decongestant or antihistamine, however, the drug is delivered through a liquid spray rather than vapors. Following the same steps for using a nasal inhaler, the spray is administered directly into the user’s nose, thus treating the condition immediately.

Both a nasal inhaler and a nasal spray have proven effective for the treatment and prevention of allergies and other sinus conditions, such as sinusitis and nasal rhinitis. These medications can be found over the counter or, depending on the extent of the user’s condition, they may be prescribed by a physician. Well tolerated by most users, there are usually very few side effects associated with the use of nasal inhalers or sprays. As a result, these devices are relied on by thousands of people each day.

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Discuss this Article

Ocelot60
Post 3

@raynbow- I use to let me kids use nasal inhalers when they were sick, and I think that using them helped to eased their stuffy noses. Just to be on the safe side though, parents should always talk to their pediatricians first before letting their kids use any kind of nasal inhaler.

Raynbow
Post 2

Are nasal inhalers safe for children to use? I babysit my niece and nephew a lot, and they are always getting colds in the winter. They hate to take medications by mouth, though, so I thought that a decongestant nasal inhaler may be a good alternative.

Heavanet
Post 1

I found some very interesting nasal inhalers at my favorite health food store. They are for a variety of ailments, from headaches to anxiety to tiredness. The idea behind them is aroma therapy.

I don't know if it is a placebo effect, but I bought one for anxiety and I think that using it before stressful situations has calmed my nerves.

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