Saturday, May 24, 2008

Nasal Spray Is Evil

I've had a stuffy nose for the past week or so.

When I stopped off to visit a friend on the tail end of the Nashville trip, she gave me some decongestants -- Benadryl, and something else in the morning when I didn't need to be drowsy.

They both worked okay, but not great. I was still sniffling and still generally uncomfortable.

So that evening I went to the grocery store to grab some NyQuil, because I knew that would at least knock me out well enough to sleep.

That's when I saw the nasal spray. It was the right price ($1.59) and it had the advantage of containing neither sleep aids nor caffeine. The NyQuil/DayQuil combo pack, by comparison, was almost eight dollars. So... I chose the nasal spray.

I had never used nasal spray before, and I had no idea what to expect. I did notice that the bottle gave a very clear warning not to use the product for more than three days. But what if your cold lasts for more than three days? I thought. Most colds last almost a week!

Well, I shot the stuff up my nose and was rewarded with instantly clear sinuses. Brilliant. This stuff worked better than salsa and hot soup combined. No drips, no stuffiness, no nothing.

The next day it wore off, so I sprayed again... and etc. etc. until there I was at the end of the third day, nose stuffed so hard I could only breathe through my mouth, staring at the warning label on the bottle.

Do not use for more than three days.

Well. I googled "nasal spray dangers" and found out that, as I had suspected, the nasal spray itself doesn't cure you. It just... stops the snot for a little while. All the snot that wasn't dripping from my nose for the past three days is still there, ready and impacted and trying to find a way out.

Using the nasal spray for more than three days won't necessarily harm you, but it's not the smartest thing to put into your body. Mine contains oxymetazoline hydrochloride, which... well, Wikipedia says it sympathomimetically causes a decrease in interstitial fluid accumulation (via alpha-2 adrenergic receptors), which essentially means... okay, I don't know exactly what it means, but there are plenty of warnings about how a person shouldn't sympathomimetically aggravate their alpha-2 adrenergic receptors too often, or the nose lining will get irritated and start to break down. Not to mention all of that impacted snot still sitting around, dreaming of Kleenex Heaven.

Unfortunately, because of its effectiveness, nasal spray is also incredibly addictive, as I found out at about 1:30 a.m. when I squirted the stuff into my nose just so I could sleep, rationalizing it with "well, the internet says it won't kill me... I can go off the spray in the morning."

Now I'm sitting here, nose-constipated and miserable. I wonder if stuffing a raisin up there would help.

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