Does Nasal Spray Help Post-Nasal Drip?

Updated April 17, 2017

Post-nasal drip is not a serious condition, but the sore throat and cough that come along with it can be persistent and annoying. It usually results from clogged sinuses, which cause mucus to drip back into the throat. Because the condition can be caused by either allergies or infections, your treatment will depend on the cause. There are different types of nasal sprays, and their use is important in treating post-nasal drip.

All Cases

You can use some general techniques in all cases of post-nasal drip to clear mucus from your nose, preventing it from dripping into your throat.

A simple unmedicated saline nasal spray can help clear out your nose and reduce swelling as well. Use a spray bottle to squirt the saline solution, which consists of salt dissolved in purified water, into each nostril, then gently blow your nose.

It is also important to drink lots of fluids while you experience post-nasal drip. If pain and swelling are particularly bad, you can use a humidifier or vaporiser to move warm, moist air through your nose. Taking long, hot showers can also clear out your sinuses and reduce pain and swelling. You may want to flush out your nose with a squirt bottle or neti pot filled with warm saline solution.

In severe or chronic cases, your doctor may suggest you use oral steroids to reduce swelling or may recommend minor corrective surgery.

Post-Nasal Drip Caused by Allergy

Many cases of post-nasal drip are caused by allergies. You can effectively treat these cases with an anti-allergy nasal sprays such as olopatadine or another local antihistamine. Be careful when using antihistamine sprays, because some of them can cause sleepiness. Do not use an over-the-counter nasal spray for more than three days in a row without consulting your doctor. Systemic decongestants or antihistamines in pill form can also be useful. If an allergy is causing your post-nasal drip, reduce your exposure to allergens as much as possible.

Post-Nasal Drip Caused by Infection

Post-nasal drip can be caused by a sinus infection. In this case, your treatment plan will combat the infectious agent causing the problem. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic nasal spray. Follow your doctor's directions as closely as possible when using one of these sprays, making sure to take the full course of the medication.

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About the Author

Abe Robinson has been a freelance writer since he graduated from college in spring 2009. He has written for a variety of websites and has provided content for the University of Chicago's "Ceremonial Words – Ritual Acts." He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from that university, receiving honors for his B.A. Thesis "Anglo-American Perceptions of Japanese Imperialism in Taiwan."