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Doctors warn against overuse of nasal sprays

過敏鼻塞 鼻噴劑使用不當越用越塞

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

It is once again a peak time for air pollution in central and southern Taiwan with concentrations of PM2.5 — fine particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or smaller — above normal limits, which has led to a rise in the number of people suffering from allergic rhinitis. Some people go to a pharmacy of their own accord and buy a nasal spray, but doctors have warned members of the public to follow medical advice when using such devices. A nasal spray should only be used two to three times a day, and not for more than 10 consecutive days. Incorrect usage will cause drug-induced rhinitis (irritation and inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane).


According to Liu Tsung-wei, attending physician at Chi Mei Hospital’s Ear Nose and Throat Department, there are two types of nasal spray: Steroid nasal sprays and nasal decongestants. Due to fears over the side effects of using of steroids, many members of the public purchase the latter to obtain relief from blocked noses, yet Liu says many people do not follow the medical guidance when using them.


People who suffer from high blood pressure or arrhythmia should avoid using nasal decongestants. Incorrect usage can cause blood vessels within the nasal mucous membrane to lose their elasticity and become swollen, which will reduce the efficacy of decongestant medicine over time and increase the severity of nasal congestion. As the decongestant medicine becomes less effective, the user will often increase the number of sprays, leading to a vicious cycle which can eventually lead to drug-induced rhinitis.


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