How to use a nose spray

Editor: V. Dimov, M.D., Allergist/Immunologist, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Clinical Associate Professor, FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine

How to use your nose spray (video):

1. Gently blow your nose to clear it of mucus before using the medication.
2. Remove the cap and shake the bottle.
3. Hold the pump bottle with your thumb at the bottom and your index and middle fingers on top.
4. The first time you use the pump spray each day, you may have to prime it by squirting a few times into the air until a fine mist comes out.
5. Tilt your head forward slightly. Breathe out slowly.
6. Insert into the nostril and aim the nozzle toward the outside of the nose and away from the nasal septum (the cartiledge which divides our nose in half).
7. Squeeze the pump as you begin to breathe in slowly through your nose.
8. Repeat these steps for the other nostril. If you are using more than one spray in each nostril, follow all these steps again. Try not to sneeze or blow your nose just after using the spray.

Nosebleeds are among the most commonly reported adverse effect of intranasal corticosteroid sprays. However, they tend to result from incorrect positioning of the device ("hitting" the septum in the middle), rather than an adverse reaction to the medication.

Common errors to avoid when using a nose spray include the following:

- forgetting to prime the spray device;
- skipping doses
- wrong head position (should be tilted forward, not back)
- pushing nozzle too hard or too far into the nose;
- blowing nose hard after spraying (the medicine is lost)
- sniffing hard after spraying (the medicine is deposited in the throat instead of the nose)
- using saline sprays or irrigations after using corticosteroid spray, instead of before

The National Asthma Council Australia has instructional 'how to' videos on using your nose spray.

Demonstration of how to use Nasonex intranasal spray correctly (video):

Demonstration of how to use Veramyst intranasal spray correctly (called "Avamys" in Australia):

Demonstration of how to use Rhinocort intranasal spray correctly (video):

Antihistamines offer little help in perennial allergic rhinitis where nasal obstruction may not be histamine mediated. A steroid nose spray may work best in perennial allergic rhinitis, for example, rhinitis caused by allergy to dust mite (

Treatment Options for Allergic Rhinitis (AR) and Non-Allergic Rhinitis (NAR) (click to enlarge the image).

Related informaion:

Intranasal corticosteroid spray technique Using your asthma inhaler
Nasal Spray Technique. Dr. David Hagaman, Medical Director of the Vanderbilt Asthma, Sinus, Allergy Program

Published: 01/12/2011
Updated: 04/09/2015

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