Typically, nasal drops are medicines or formulas that are ingested through the nose. The drops may be formed of a saline solution or could have a medication as an active ingredient. Many types of nasal drops are available over-the-counter, but some require a doctor’s prescription. The drops are commonly used for symptoms such as nasal congestion caused by an allergy, head cold, or a related upper-respiratory problem.
There are various types of nasal drops. Some are composed of a basic saline solution that could help dilute the mucous build-up, clear irritants from the nose, and drain the sinuses. Generally, saline drops can be administered to people of all ages. Parents may treat children with the drops to aid in suction of mucous out of the nose without much difficulty.
Nasal drops can have ingredients to provide relief in conditions such as an allergy, a cold, or a sinus problem. Medicated formulas for the nose may contain decongestant drugs, steroids, or antihistamines. Some drops may have added natural compounds such as aloe vera.
Symptoms can be alleviated with nasal drops in several ways. They can contract dilated blood vessels in the nasal tissues to decongest the nose, may moisten the sinuses, and help improve breathing by reducing the flow or accumulation of secretions. Nose drops with steroids may be recommended to treat nasal polyps, which are swollen growths that form in the nose lining. The drops may ease inflammation and help reduce swelling.
The dosage and duration of treatment can vary depending on the medication and the health condition of the patient. Generally, the dosage is indicated on the label or in a leaflet included with the box. When drops are prescribed, the doctor typically specifies the dosage on the prescription.
There are different methods of administering nose drops so it is usually recommended to check the instructions on the medication bottle. One recommended way is to tilt the head backward and put the prescribed number of nasal drops in each nostril. Sometimes the head is bent forwards after putting in the drops, or the drops may be administered while lying down with the head over the edge of the bed. The tip of the dropper shouldn’t touch the interior of the nose. Patients are often advised to keep the head in the recommended position for a while after inserting the drops so that the medication gets distributed in the nasal passage.
Some may experience side effects such as sneezing, dryness, burning, or a stinging sensation from nasal drops. Normally, these side effects are temporary in nature. The treatment could lead to problems if nose drops are used beyond the prescribed period. For instance, prolonged treatment with decongestant drops could trigger rebound congestion.
It is generally advisable to take certain precautions when using nasal drops. These include washing the dropper with hot water and drying it well every time the medication is administered. The cap needs to be put back on the medicine bottle and closed properly to avoid contamination of the drops. Sharing nasal drops with others could transmit infections.