When allergy suffers seek relief in the pharmacy aisles, there are two main types of nasal spray to consider, but one can cause a physical dependence on the medicine.
Decongestants offer quick relief, but can only be used for a limited duration, while steroid nasal sprays offer a long term solution to allergy symptoms.
"Quick relief nasal sprays are those that try to open up your airways in your sinuses and in your nasal passages," Belew Drugs pharmacist Brandon Lock said. "What they do is a quick reduction of swelling, which works very quickly and helps a lot, but you can't do it more than three days in a row."
The most popular decongestant spray is Afrin. When used for too long, it can cause a condition called rebound congestion.
"Rebound congestion is when the membranes inside your nose just get lazy and get used to this medicine doing the constriction for your body, and your body loses its ability to do it for itself," Lock said. "It's not necessarily habit forming like a drug, but it's habit forming in that you have to use it again to be able to breath properly."
However, not all nasal sprays have that downside.
Often, doctors suggest a steroid nasal spray to manage seasonal allergies.
"A topical nasal steroid spray such as Flonase or Nasacort that you can buy over-the-counter are typically used to calm down stuffiness and inflammation within the nose," Allergy & Asthma Affiliates allergist Trent Ellenburg said.
Steroid nasal sprays are designed to prevent allergy symptoms and are safe to be used regularly.
If steroid nasal sprays don't solve allergy problems, more robust treatments including allergy shots may improve allergies.