Habituation effect: can nasal spray really addictive?
In winter you can quickly catch a cold. When the nose is blocked, many people use nasal sprays, which can often quickly free their breath. But it is often heard that such means can make you addicted. But is that really true?
If you have a severe cold, nasal spray can be the solution to finally get your breath back. After that, you should quickly stop taking such sprays - before the mucous membranes can no longer do without the agents.
After five to seven days, you get used to it
Although nasal sprays have no intoxicating effect - unlike alcohol and other drugs that can be addictive, there is a risk of physical addiction, explains Ursula Sellerberg from the Federal Pharmacy Chamber.
This applies to all nasal sprays with a vasoconstricting, decongestant effect. In the case of an acute runny nose, such agents ensure that the nose becomes free again.
This is positive for the time being - after about five to seven days, however, you get used to it. The mucous membranes then no longer swell without a nasal spray.
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Use natural remedies for longer complaints
And that has negative consequences. Firstly, the permanent use of nasal spray can damage the mucous membrane, and secondly, there is a risk of losing the ability to smell - and thus also the ability to taste.
To prevent this, you should never take decongestant nasal spray for longer than five to seven days.
If the symptoms have not yet disappeared, it can then be replaced with other sprays, for example with table salt or sea salt: there is no risk of dependency here.
Such nose drops can also be made quite quickly at home. (ad, source: dpa / tmn)