How to Use Allergy Nasal Spray

If you’re an allergy sufferer who depends on the nasal steroid spray Flonase (fluticasone propionate) to relieve sneezing, sniffling or itchy eyes, you’ll now be able to find the drug on store shelves without a prescription.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for over-the-counter sales in 2014, and it became available in stores last year. The drug’s over-the-counter strength, 50 mcg, is the same as its prescription counterpart. If you use Flonase, follow these steps to ensure you get an adequate dosage of the drugs:

1. Blow your nose to clear your nostrils.

2. Shake the spray bottle gently before using.

3. Keep your head upright—don’t tilt it back.

4. Hold one nostril closed with your finger.

5.Firmly press the applicator with your forefinger and middle finger to release the spray in the other nostril, aiming for the outer nasal wall.

6.Gently breathe in to pull the spray into the higher areas of your nose, but try not to breathe too deeply and let medicine drain down your throat.

7. Repeat in the other nostril.

8. Wipe off the applicator before storing it.

Nasal steroid sprays are most effective when you start using them at the beginning of pollen season. Flonase is indicated for once-a-day use unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.

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HealthAfter50 was published by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, providing up-to-date, evidence-based research and expert advice on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of health conditions affecting adults in middle age and beyond. It was previously part of Remedy Health Media's network of digital and print publications, which also include HealthCentral; HIV/AIDS resources The Body and The Body Pro; the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter; and the Berkeley Wellness website. All content from HA50 merged into in 2018.