Confessions of a nasal spray addict

Hello everyone, my name is Jeremy and I’m addicted to nasal spray.

Yep. It’s a real problem and I’m learning many others have suffered with their dependency on this stuff.

I don’t mean to make light of any addiction with the tone of this post, yet there is an immediate smirk I get from people when they learn I’m trying to recover from the over-the-counter nasal spray.

Perhaps it began early last year when I was dealing with severe stuffiness during allergy season. My wife thinks my problem has been around much longer. She’s probably right.

Empty vials of nasal spray can be found throughout the trail of my daily life. In my glove box. My dresser near my bed. I currently have three in my work bag, two of them empty and one is full. My desk at work has a few plastic carcasses of these things. If these vials suddenly turned into $5 bills, I’d be finding money all over the place.

I can tell you which nasal spray brands are the cheapest, where to find the great deals and what type of bottles have the best delivery. The squeeze bottles suck and don’t’ work as well. The ones that operate like a syringe get the fluid right up there. It’s sad to say, but my addiction has resulted in an absurd connoisseurship of nasal sprays.

When I use it, I receive immediate relief from intense stuffiness. It’s almost euphoric to be able to breathe from the torture of a stuffy nose.

There’s a whole psychological element too. I get anxious when I don’t have a full vial either in my pocket or within an arm’s reach. These little damn vials have become necessary companions to my wallet and keys.

I spray multiple times in the morning when I wake up. In the mid-morning. In the afternoon. The mid-afternoon. In the evening. And always around 2 a.m. or so when I wake up with severe breathing problems. It feels like some sort of gremlin stuffed wet tissue up my nostrils in the middle of the night rendering my nose feeling like a heavy block of cheese stuck between my eyes.

I knew I had a problem when I attended a concert at Red Rocks during the summer last year. I didn’t have my nasal spray with me and I suddenly couldn’t breathe at all. I didn’t enjoy the music and just wanted to get back to a Walgreen’s for refuge.

Finally, my wife convinced me to see a doctor. I went last week and he prescribed me a steroid spray to use once in the morning and once at night. He said it’s a “bedside thing” I should do to begin and end my day.

As for the OTC stuff, he recommended I slowly wean myself off the spray. Instead of doing multiple sprays in each nostril, I should only do one. And then I should start reducing the times I spray throughout the day the following week. Eventually, hopefully, on the third week or so I can stop using the steroid spray all together.

I’m happy to say I haven’t used the OTC stuff at all for three days. My last time was this past Monday while on a flight from Denver to Dallas. I got seriously stuffy on the plane and I used it once in each side of my nose.

I still get stuffy, but not as bad. Every few hours my nose will get a strong tingle, then one side will suddenly get stuffy and blocked. I’ve been resisting the urge to spray and I think it’s working. After about 30 minutes or so, my nose will clear up a bit.

So what can be said about this?

This nasal spray addiction is a real thing, and after confessing on twitter, many other people have told me they’ve suffered too. I’ve received all sorts of support from my followers and recommendations: Saline spray. The Neti pot. Breathe strips. Only spray in one nostril.


So far, I haven’t had to use these alternatives.

The real test will be when I get back to Denver on Friday. I’m feeling clear here in Dallas, however I may be allergic to something back home. We’ll see.

I should have paid attention to the warning labels on these bottles. You’re only supposed to use them for a few days and then stop, even if symptoms continue. Overuse, I’ve read, can result in severe damage to the nasal cavity and a loss of smell. I hope this hasn’t happened to me. We’ll see.

For those of you who find yourself here looking for relief, I highly recommend a doctor’s visit. The steroid spray seems to be helping.

Good luck.

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