Monday, January 21, 2013

Kicking The Habit

I have to confess something, I have an addiction to nasal spray.  Actually, the Mayo-Clinic calls it a rebound effect rather than an addiction, but I could not make it through the day without it, therefore, I call it an addiction.

For months I relied on nasal spray to allow me to breathe, it would be the first thing I did in the mornings and the last thing I would do at night before going to sleep.  I kept a bottle on my nightstand beside the bed, a bottle in my purse, and at times would have a bottle in my car.  If we were going somewhere and realized we had forgotten the nasal spray, we would turn around and go back for it or stop and buy a new bottle.  -  I say "we" here because my husband has the same addiction.

Our addiction started with allergies and nasal congestion.  Originally I bought Afrin No Drip Severe Congestion with Menthol.  It worked amazingly at keeping our sinus' clear plus it would give that little extra jolt of menthol to open up your head.  I could use it in the morning and breathe normally all day.  But, after just a few days of using it, I was also having to use it before going to sleep to be able to breath all night.  After a while, I was also having to use it during the day.  If we visited a place with particularly dry air I would have to use my spray.  It became so that I was dependent on the spray just to be able to make it through out the day.

Afrin No Drip Severe Congestion

I was buying 4 to 6 boxes at a time, every few weeks which was getting quite expensive.  The Afrin at our local Walmart runs around $7.98 per bottle so it was at this time that I switched to the store brand equivalent.  You got twice as much product for half the price, and it worked just as well for me, minus the blast of menthol.

During all of this, I never once connected my nasal spray to the symptoms I was having - dryness and stuffiness, itchy nose, sneezing, headaches.  All of these things I contributed to my allergies.  Then, a few months ago, I had a nurse friend at work notice the bottle sitting on my desk and he cautioned me on using too much.  He told me that the way nasal spray works is to constrict the blood vessels which is not something a person with high blood pressure already, such as myself, should be doing frequently.

This made me stop and think about what I was truly doing to my body, but I didn't seriously consider quitting until just a few weeks ago.  I have been having a really hard time sleeping lately and while doing some more research on the side effects of nasal spray, I noticed that sleep disturbances were one of them, along with a whole host of others.  So, I decided it was time and no matter how difficult, I had to do it.

I started out by doing some research on how to kick the habit, so to speak, and decided on two ways that I would try.  One way was to add saline solution to my nasal spray and continue using it.  As the bottle emptied, continue filling it with more saline solution, watering down the nasal spray and weaning myself off of it.  This was going to be my Plan B.  

I decided first I would try only using the nasal spray in one nostril, allowing the other nostril to heal and adjust back to not having the spray.  It would be stuffy and congested but I should be able to breathe through the nostril that I was still using the spray in during this process.  After a while, the nostril that I wasn't using the spray in would go back to normal and I would be able to breathe through it and not use the spray at all, allowing the last nostril to adjust back to normal.

It has been two weeks today since I started the process of only using it on one side and one week since I have used it at all.  I still have some stuffiness and dryness, but it's tolerable and I'm hopeful that in a few more days and I will be back to normal, though I may use a saline solution to help with the dryness and to help clean my sinus'.

I can already tell a huge difference in the amount of sneezing I'm doing - or rather, not doing and the itchiness is pretty much non-existent.  Overall, I am very happy with my decision to kick the nasal spray habit.  Now if I can just get the hubby to give it a go.

If you are considering using Nasal Spray, I caution you to please only use as directed.


  1. I've never tried the nasal spray. The hubby has and swears by them. Sticking something like that really freaks me out! I used to get bloody noses like crazy when I was a kid, so I'm very cautious of sticking things up there.

    We live in a very dry place now. We were both getting really dry itchy skin and super dry stuff noses. We bought a sonic humidifier and that helped us a lot. Drinking water is a must too. A nurse told me that eating yogurt also helps.

    1. I have never heard that about yogurt! I will have to give it a try. Thanks!

  2. Oh no-its amazing how caught up we can get with something and before you know it its out of control. I hope you are feeling better now and cut down. Your health is whats important and I am glad you noticed things before it got really really serious! HUGS!

  3. Don't feel bad, I have the same issue. I have terrible sinus problems from my allergies and most days I'm okay, but then I get a lot of doozies that my nose is just acting up. Ugh! I don't have high blood pressure. I believe it's steady at 120 over 80 and I know that's pretty darn good. Anyway, I'd love to try the sailene, but wasn't sure if anyone else had tried and it actually working for them. Is it the arm & hammer netty pot? Cause I've seen that advertised a lot and didn't want to waste money if it didn't work.

    1. I have the NeilMed Sinus Rinse bottle, instead of the pot. It does work but you really have to get used to the initial drowning sensation. lol. They do make saline in a spray bottle too and I think I will get some of that to try during the day and do the rinse at night before bed.

      Im sorry to hear that you have sinus problems as well. It really sucks not being able to breathe freely so I feel for you.

  4. Thank you very much for sharing this deeply intimate experience with us. I'm very sorry that you've been contending with this addiction and the symptoms that led you to start using nasal spray so heavily in the first place. It's really admirable of you to talk openly about this - I'm so proud of you!

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you. I'm hoping that by sharing my experience it will save others from going down the same path.


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