We cannot see our kids suffer, be it because of a fever, vaccination or just common cold or allergies. The nights become miserable for you and your little one when your kid catches a seasonal allergy. They cough, sneeze, get runny nose but the most bothering for both of you is when they can’t breathe through their nose as they are all stuffed up. They cannot sleep and you cannot sleep as well seeing them in such a condition. Many nasal sprays are available in the market to provide instant relief from blocked nose. But are they all safe? There are three types of nasal sprays and some of them are unsafe too. Let’s have a look.
Are nasal sprays safe?

What Are Nasal Sprays?

Dubbed as “quick fixes” for providing relief congested nasal passages caused by colds, allergies, or sinus infections. However, nasal sprays are just a short term solution, and should never be used for more than 3 days in continuity. Also, nasal sprays should never be used on infants, unless prescribed by the doctor.

Types Of Nasal Sprays Available

  • Decongestant Nasal Sprays: Decongestants nasal sprays are used to ease the stuffy nose. You can purchase it with a doctor’s prescription for topical use. They are often available in the form of spray or drops. They work by narrowing the small blood vessels in your nose and thus reduce the swelling. These should not be used for more than 3-4 days as it can create a rebound effect and worsen the congestion once the effect wears off. They provide quick relief as they contain chemical medications. Some of the medicines used in these nasal sprays:
    • Oxymetazoline
    • Phenylephrine
    • Xylometazoline
    • Naphazoline
  • Saline Nasal Sprays: It contains salt water solution and can be purchased without any prescription. They do not contain any medication
  • Steroid Nasal Sprays: These are used for allergic rhinitis symptoms and also for nasal blocks. They last longer and are anti-inflammatory. These anti-histamine sprays work by blocking histamine and one dose will last for 12 hours. Some of the medicines used in these sprays:
    • Fluticasone
    • Mometasone
    • Triamcinolone
    • Beclomethasone

Are Nasal Sprays Safe For Kids?

Lets look at the safety of the nasal sprays discussed above one by one-

  • Decongestant Nasal Sprays: A statement from Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2009 says that-
    • The OTC medicines for cough and cold can cause side effects like allergic reactions and it affects the sleep in children under the age of 6. So parents should avoid using OTC medicines for cough and cold in children under age 6
    • In children aging from 6 – 12 years, these medicines should not be used for more than five days and the risk of side effects is reduced in older children

    Decongestant nasal sprays cause the “rebound effect”. That means that if you overuse them (more than for a few days) it becomes less effective and the congestion comes back as soon as its effects wears off

  • Saline Nasal Sprays: Since they do not contain any medication, these are considered the safest to use when dealing with nasal congestion in children
  • Steroid Nasal Sprays: In two separate studies, the effects of two nasal sprays was monitored. Researchers monitored their effect on the child growth. In each of these studies, 100 children were monitored for a year. The two treatments studied were Nasonex (mometasone) and Vancenase (beclomethasone)
    • There was no evidence of slow growth with the new treatment, Nasonex and it was found to be effective and safe however it should be used in the least possible dosage
    • The older treatment called Vancenase might slightly slow the growth rate in some kids however most kids were not affected in any way

Using Nasal Spray

How To Use A Nasal Spray On A Child?

  • Blow your child’s nose to clear the mucus as much as you can
  • Place your thumb at the bottom of the bottle and two fingers in top
  • Block one nostril by pressing it by your finger tip
  • Squeeze the pump in the other nostril and tell your child to inhale slowly
  • Repeat to the other nostril

What Alternatives Can Be Used Instead Of Nasal Sprays To Relive Kids Of Congestion?

  • Steam Inhalation: Try steam inhalation. It is a very effective way to combat a stuffy nose and clear it. Please be very careful so that you don’t end up burning the child. Make the child sit on your lap while the other person holds the steam vaporizer at an appropriate distance
  • Treat Their Cold: Focus on treating their cold as the nasal congestion will go away as soon as the cold is gone

Yes, these are some of those difficult days for you and your child but try to relax as much as you can and don’t get too stressed out because you need to be on your toes for a few more days until your child recovers. Try the safe alternatives first but if the congestion is severe and nothing else works, talk to your doctor about which nasal spray you should use.