Afrin is one of the most popular nasal sprays on the market. Afrin and other similar nasal sprays work by stimulating the receptors in the smooth muscle of the blood vessels of the nose. It causes these blood vessels to constrict, which reduces nasal congestion. These types of nasal decongestant sprays are called vasoconstrictors.

While Afrin can be very effective, it comes with quite a few side effects. It can cause temporary burning, stinging, dryness, runny nose, and sneezing. However, one of the main side effects is rebound congestion, also commonly referred to as nasal spray addiction. Since this is such a common side effect in nasal decongestant sprays, the FDA and health care professionals recommend only using them only as directed. Unfortunately, many don’t read the box or skim over the instructions and warnings.

Rebound congestion is common with many nasal sprays and they are recommended for only 3-4 days of use in a row. With continuous use, Afrin can actually start to create the problems it’s used to relieve. Rebound congestion happens when the nasal linings swell up, creating congestion. This leads individuals to using the spray more frequently to relieve the congestion, resulting in a vicious cycle and nasal spray reliance.

Because vasoconstrictors constantly starve the nose of nutrients and oxygen, the body will compensate by enlarging the veins in the nose, which creates a daily cycle of congestion and dependence on the spray. As the individual uses the spray more often to gain relief, it begins to build a tolerance, requiring more applications to achieve the same relief.

Not only can these nasal decongestant sprays create an addiction, they can have a deteriorating effect on the sinuses which requires surgery to fix. Actress Kaley Cuoco talked about her experience with Afrin addiction on Ellen, and spoke about the surgery she required to fix her sinuses. If you want to avoid the surgery look at the experience of Dr. Talal Nsouli, the Washington, D.C. physician who took care of President Clinton’s allergy problems.

Rather than using a nasal decongestant spray like Afrin, opt for a natural saline nasal spray with xylitol. A saline nasal spray is safe to use multiple times a day for as many days in a row as you need. Many use them every day, morning and night. Because a saline nasal spray contains natural ingredients, there are no addictive side effects to worry about. A saline nasal spray with xylitol, like the one from Xlear, helps keep the nasal linings moisturized, healthy and clean thanks to the addition of xylitol.

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