Saturday, 11 February 2012


 So these days there are preservatives in almost everything we eat, right? Is there any wonder that our nose spray also has preservatives?
The ingredient in the nasal sprays that causes the rebound effect is Benzalkonium Chloride or so I’ve read. I don’t know, it could be more ingredients and the combination of them that makes the effect. Check it out for yourself by following the link. But Benzalkonium Chloride is a preservative.

Here is the definition of Rhinitis Medicamentosa (Rebound Congestion) according to Wikipedia:
Rhinitis medicamentosa (or RM) is a condition of rebound nasal congestion brought on by extended use of topical decongestants (e.g., oxymetazoline, phenylephrine, xylometazoline, and naphazoline nasal sprays) that work by constricting blood vessels in the lining of the nose.

And you can read all about Rhinitis Medicamentosa by clicking on the name.

My post today is about a recent bout with flu and cold which began on a Friday evening with a sore throat. Later with congestion settling in, I took out my trusty nose spray and used in order to sleep.

I have to say this was a very bad flu/cold. I had never experienced anything this crappy in years, maybe never. After about five days I was feeling quite well as long as my airways were cleared. I couldn’t understand why I was still so stuffed up. And this would be in
both nostrils, like a brick was shoved in each one.

After an episode with heart flutters I was afraid it was caused by using too much nose spray, (this may or may not have been correct) so seven days to the night of my first signs of sore throat I quit using it.
I had heard of rebound nasal congestion before, but I didn’t figure I had used the spray long enough for something like that.

You see, any cold I’ve had lately (before this bug) had lasted maybe two, three days of stuffed nose misery before breaking. I would pop the nose spray, especially at night, and was fine when it was all over.

I was not paying attention. Later I read the label. DO NOT USE LONGER THAN THREE DAYS. Oh, oh, I had used for at least six days, probably didn’t use it the first night with the sore throat. What did I do? I suffered on that seventh night, totally blocked. Walked around, which helped a bit. One thing that did help was steam. It takes about ten minutes at least though for the slightest breakthrough, so be patient. After a few hours of misery, the nostrils started to feel alive again and there was some give in there.

Well, it was bedtime and I was reluctant to go to bed. How was I ever going to sleep if I didn’t squirt the nostrils? But I have pretty good will power so I stayed strong. I decided I would just have to breathe through my mouth even though that is disgusting and dries out not only your lips but your entire inside of mouth and throat.

Lying still and relaxing makes a big difference. Don’t yawn, if possible. Don’t cough, if you can control it. Each time you cough it will stop the clearing and you will feel plugged again.

Gradually one nostril gave a bit of clearing, not perfect and I still had to breathe through the mouth. I tried to equalize it as much as I could. Eventually I went to sleep so I can’t tell you what happened then. When I awoke, one nostril was clear and the other stuffed, the opposite one to when I had gone to sleep.
I am not a medical person so this is purely my experience and my research as to what occurred during this bad bout of flu/cold.

Right now it is Day eight. I have not used or sprayed my nose for about eighteen hours now, have gotten through one night without it and did sleep well, after the initial settling down and relaxing enough to cause my nostrils to open on their own. I am not an anxious person and although the heart/chest fluttering was a bit unnerving, I stayed calm and relaxed.

When one gets upset, nervous, worked up, it causes your body to go on high alert and everything gets uptight. Learn to relax. Yoga is a good method for that. Even if you’ve never had any Yoga training, just read about it and try a few exercises. Meditation is wonderful, if you can do it. TRY. Even if you don’t feel that you are getting anywhere, you probably are. Just by sitting and deep breathing (that is if you don’t have this lousy cold/flu thing) helps. But if you have a stuffed nose, try and think of other things, just try your darndest to relax, pleasant thoughts everyone.

Not everyone has heard of Rhinitis Medicamestosa/Rebound Congestion. Maybe someone reading this will come to realize they are addicted to nose spray. If you are, good luck. I hear long term addiction is not the easiest thing to get rid of. But one method did sound interesting that I read on a few websites. Try weaning yourself off the nose spray by one nostril at a time. Spray only one, which will give you relief for breathing.
Leave the other to heal on its own. Once the other (healed one) has cleared, you can stop using the nose spray in the other. This sounded effective for those who had tried it.

For me it was just seven days. The bottle clearly told me not to use beyond three days, but I didn’t heed the warning. I believe that the longer one uses, the harder it will be to break the habit. So best of  luck to anyone who is trying.

I feel on the mend today (finally) and so glad I’m off the nose spray. Will I use it again? Probably, but I will heed the warning, and not longer than THREE days.

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