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Health Forum    Allergies
Health Discussion Forum

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Stuffy nose for 2 1/2 weeks!?
At first i thought it was allergies, then i thought it was a cold, now it's been 2 1/2 weeks and i cant seem to get rid of this cold like thing! I have been using the afrin nasle spray the whole time it's been going on. The most i'v used it is prolly 5 times a day. I dont know what the deal is but i wish it would go away!! What is it and how can i cure it? Do you think it's the nasal spray?

Do you have allergry? It is March, my allergy have start. I takes zyrtec for my allergy and cold. Go see a doctor, since zyrtec need prescr. Wish you get well.

It sounds more like allergies and at this time of the year, it's a good chance that's what you have. You could also have a sinus infection, and while the afrin spray may help, you could need an antibiotic to clear it up. Try some otc allergy meds, and if that doesn't help, see your doctor. Check the mold count in your area, and also the pollen and other counts. If they are high, try working around them. For example, if you notice that pollen seems to trigger your stuffy nose, try to stay in when the pollen count is at its highest. You could have an allergy to dust mites. Try using a cheap mask you can get at any drug store when you dust. Use mattress covers and pillow covers. My teen is allergic to bugs, and although we don't have any, she was exposed to them in her science class (hissing roaches!). If you continue to have problems, see about getting tested for allergies and your doctor can prescribe the right meds for you. I still believe in using Vicks, so you may want to try that. Watch how much you use the otc sprays and don't use it anymore than what it says to.

I don't think you realize what you are getting into. You might have originally had allergies or a cold, but I guarantee you that right now, after 2 1/2 weeks of regular use, you have the beginnings of an Afrin addiction.

Afrin (or non-brand name oxymetazoline hydrochloride) is a very powerful decongestant. It works so fabulously that people like yourself frequently just keep using it. It is inexpensive, easy to use, and always works. But if you continue for more than a few days you risk something called rebound congestion. Basically your nasal passsages have adjusted for it and now demand it. There is actually a medical name for this: "rhinitis medicamentosa", and you can google it to find out more.

In a way, this is an insidious addiction. It is low profile, doesn't carry much of a stigma, and it's easy to just keep taking it over and over again, because it will always clear your nasal passages. So what is the harm? The answer is that the user will create a ridiculous dependency on this, and after years of use it can potentially damage their nasal passages permanently. The makers of Afrin know very well that it is highly addictive, and they are just fine with that. Many people do not become addicted, but those who do are a source of regular non-stop profit.

If you don't stop soon, then before you know it (in a few months/years) you will get used to having bottles of afrin-like sprays all around. You will keep them at home, take them to work/school, pack the bottles on trips, and become concerned if you don't have it - because of course you will not be able to sleep without it. It will just become a part of your everyday routine.

To get off of it, start by using it less during the daytime. At night, only use one spray, and try alternating nostrils, using it only when you absolutely have to. This will help a little, but to really break the habit you need to cut down the concentration even more. In my case I bought a bottle of plain nasal saline spray and slowly diluted a bottle of Afrin over the course of several weeks, so that I was using a weaker and weaker spray, and only using it at night. You may have to also get used to functioning in the daytime with a clogged nose. If this dilution sounds too hard, there is also a product called RhinoStat that is designed to help people break this addiction - but it is basically the same thing. If none of this works, then you may have to see an ENT (ear nose throat) physician to get a nasal spray, but I have heard those don't work very well, and the Dr will probably just tell you to "stop", as if it's that easy.

Do yourself a big favor and ween yourself off of it now. I wish I had never taken it.

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