What Is Aqueous Nasal Spray?

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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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An aqueous nasal spray is a liquid substance that individuals spray into the nostrils of the nose. Once applied, this substance combats effects of respiratory ailments, namely treating stuffy nose. Ingredients like corticosteroids work to reduce nasal inflammation.

Solutions that are aqueous are so named because they contain water as a solvent substance. As such, the medical substances in an aqueous nasal spray are dissolved in water. Therefore, the final product takes on a liquid form.

Many forms of aqueous nasal spray use corticosteroids as a base substance. These hormones are made naturally in the adrenal glands, but artificial versions are also available. They mainly eliminate the irritation and swelling of various body linings that are characteristic of inflammation. Certain steroid substances are more prominent in aqueous nasal sprays because these substances work effectively on the nasal passages. Such steroids include beclomethasone.

The use of aqueous nasal sprays is mainly a response to inflammation. When the body encounters foreign agents, the immune system initiates a series of protective measures. One such response is inflammation. Since the nose is particularly susceptible to the entry of irritating foreign particles, nasal passage inflammation occurs quite often. This inflammation causes blood vessels and tissues in the nose to become swollen and sensitive.


Different conditions may create the need for aqueous nasal sprays. Individuals allergic to particles like pollen or dust might experience nasal inflammation when exposed to these substances. In addition, infections and viruses such as the common cold virus can instigate immune system inflammatory responses as well. These various conditions can close up nasal passages, resulting in a stuffy nose that makes breathing difficult. Concurrent symptoms might range from a runny nose to sneezing.

The mechanism for an aqueous nasal spray is relatively simple. Spraying the substance into the nose allows the particles in the spray to reach hard to access areas. The liquid quickly absorbs into the linings of the passages and inhibits the chemicals that send messages for inflammation to the immune system. Once the immune system stops commanding inflammation processes, then the passages return to normal and easier breathing resumes. In some individuals, aqueous nasal spray use may induce side effects such as dizziness or headache.

Manufacturers often package aqueous nasal spray in a small, round container. A nozzle with a pointed tip and a small hole serve as the cap for the container. The user holds the container to the nostril and squeezes either the container itself or the area directly underneath the nozzle. This action sprays the liquid from the nozzle.


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