What are nasal drops?

Nasal drops are usually medications or formulations that are swallowed through the nose. The drops may be made up of a saline solution or may have a drug as the active ingredient. Many types of nasal drops are available without a prescription, but some require a prescription. The drops are commonly used for symptoms such as nasal congestion caused by an allergy, cold, or related upper respiratory problem.

There are several types of nasal drops. Some are made of a basic saline solution that may help thin mucous buildup, flush irritants from the nose, and drain the sinuses. In general, saline drops can be given to people of all ages. Parents can treat children with the drops to help in suctioning the mucosa from the nose without much difficulty.

Nasal drops may have ingredients to provide relief from conditions such as allergies, colds, or sinus problems. Medicated nasal formulations may contain decongestant, steroid, or antihistamine medications. Some drops may have added natural compounds like aloe vera.

Symptoms can be relieved with nasal drops in a number of ways. They can constrict dilated blood vessels in the nasal tissues to decongest the nose, can moisten the sinuses, and help improve breathing by reducing the flow or pooling of secretions. Steroid nose drops may be recommended to treat nasal polyps, which are inflamed growths that form on the lining of the nose. The drops can relieve inflammation and help reduce swelling.

The dose and duration of treatment may vary depending on the drug and the patient's health status. In general, the dose is indicated on the label or in a leaflet included with the box. When drops are prescribed, the doctor usually specifies the dosage on the prescription.

There are different methods of administering nasal drops, so it is generally recommended to refer to the instructions on the medication bottle. One recommended way is to tilt your head back and place the prescribed amount of nose drops in each nostril. Sometimes the head bends forward after the drops are placed, or the drops can be given while lying down with the head on the edge of the bed. The tip of the dropper should not touch the inside of the nose. Patients are often advised to hold their head in the recommended position for some time after inserting the drops so that the medication distributes into the nasal passage.

Some may experience side effects such as sneezing, dryness, burning, or a stinging sensation from the nasal drops. Typically, these side effects are temporary in nature. The treatment could cause problems if the nasal drops are used beyond the prescribed period. For example, prolonged treatment with decongestant drops could trigger rebound congestion.

In general, it is advisable to take certain precautions when using nasal drops. These include washing the dropper with hot water and drying it well each time the medicine is given. The stopper should be put back on the medicine bottle and closed properly to prevent droplet contamination. Sharing nasal drops with others could spread infections.

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