Nasal-Spray2As we enter spring allergy season, people looking for medication on pharmacy aisles will see a new option: Flonase® Allergy Relief, a nasal spray formerly available by prescription only. It joins Nasacort® Allergy 24HR in a new class of over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medication: corticosteroid nasal sprays.

Corticosteroid nasal sprays fight the inflammation behind the annoying drip, sniff and itch of spring allergies. Since they deposit allergy medication right where you need it – directly on the lining of your nasal passages – rather than sending it through the bloodstream, they provide maximum benefit with minimal side effects.

They are also nonsedating – they won’t make you sleepy.

What do you need to know for safe use of these medications?

All medications – including OTC ones – have potentially serious side effects. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about what allergy medication is best for you. Inform them of other medicines you take – especially if you take any other corticosteroid asthma or eye medications – as well as supplements or vitamin use.

Nasal corticosteroids start working quickly, but you may not feel the full effects for several weeks. Doctors generally recommend that you start taking them a few weeks before your allergy season starts, or regularly if you have year-round symptoms.

It’s important to use the spray correctly. Follow these tips.