How to use a nasal spray

how to use a nasal spray

Nasal sprays are available for allergies and colds and flu.  Judging by what I’ve discussed with patients most people are not using nasal sprays correctly.

Steps to using a nasal spray

Step 1 Blow your nose before spraying if it is blocked with mucous.

Step 2 If it is a new spray or if you haven’t used it for a while the device will need to be primed.  This means you will need to do a few sprays in to the air first to get it spraying as a fine mist.  It is easiest to hold the bottle, for priming and use, by placing your thumb underneath the bottle and using your index and middle finger to push down on the spray part.

Step 3 Head position is important! Start with your head facing forward then tilt it down slightly so that you are looking towards your toes.  A lot of people tilt their head back and so the spray just runs down the back of the nose and in to the throat where it does not help much.

Step 4 Nozzle aim is important!  Aim the nozzle away from the middle of your nose.  Insert the nozzle and aim it towards the ear on the same side of your head.  That is for the left nostril insert the nozzle and aim it towards the left ear.

Step 5 Gently press on the other nostril to close it while you spray.

Step 6 Push down on the spray once per nostril and inhale gently as you do so.  Don’t sniff too hard while spraying.  Breathe out gently after spraying and repeat for the other nostril.



Corticosteroid allergy sprays can take a couple of weeks to build up to maximum effectiveness though some benefit may be seen when first starting.

Decongestant sprays for colds and flu should not be used for longer than 6 days as they can cause rebound congestion after this time.  This means they can cause, rather than treat, nasal congestion.


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