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Nasal sprays, when used regularly, can help make you more comfortable when your allergies flare up. Steroid nasal sprays can be used to treat symptoms caused by hay fever (allergic rhinitis).

These sprays are available over the counter or by prescription. Some nasal sprays are made to address a runny nose, redness, and itching. Others are better at treating watery eyes, congestion, and sinus pain.

Let’s take a look at different types of nasal sprays so you can figure out which one might work best for treating your hay fever symptoms.

Below are some common types of nasal sprays used for hay fever. You can use some of these treatments on a daily basis, or just use them during peak allergy season when your symptoms are severe.

None of the sprays listed below should be used to treat the common cold or the flu.


Beclometasone (Beconase AQ, Qnasl) is a corticosteroid that is typically only available by prescription. Its primary function is to decrease inflammation.

This type of nasal spray can be used for environmental allergies, like hay fever. Regular use of beclometasone twice per day is the typical dosage.

Beclometasone is intended to treat nasal symptoms such as:

  • swelling
  • redness
  • itching


Budesonide (Rhinocort) is another type of nasal spray typically used for asthma. Like beclometasone, it’s in the corticosteroid family and works by blocking your body’s inflammatory response to irritants and allergens.

Budesonide can be taken once per day as part of your routine.

Budesonide is intended to treat symptoms such as:

  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • stuffiness


Mometasone (Nasonex) is a medium-strength corticosteroid that can be used to treat hay fever. Mometasone dosage is once per day, or as needed.

A 2019 randomized, controlled study of 1,180 participants showed that nasal sprays containing mometasone in combination with the antihistamine olopatadine were more successful than placebo at improving symptoms of nasal and eye irritation.

Mometasone is intended to treat symptoms such as:

  • sneezing
  • congestion
  • runny nose


Fluticasone (Flonase) is a corticosteroid available over the counter and by prescription. This nasal spray is used to treat all symptoms of hay fever.

Dosing is recommended once per day, and daily use of this type of spray can result in a reduction in your everyday allergy symptoms.

If you have allergy symptoms at night that keep you from sleeping well, research indicates that fluticasone can help with that, too.

Fluticasone is intended to treat symptoms such as:

  • runny nose
  • watery eyes
  • congestion


Oxymetazoline (Afrin) is a nasal decongestant, which you may prefer over a steroid treatment.

It can be used as needed, which means you don’t have to use it every day to see a benefit. However, you shouldn’t use it more than once in a 10- to 12-hour period, and you shouldn’t take more than 2 doses within 24 hours.

Additionally, treatment shouldn’t exceed 3 consecutive days due to the risk of rebound congestion.

Oxymetazoline is intended to treat symptoms such as:

  • sinus pressure
  • congestion
  • runny nose


Azelastine (Astelin, Astepro) is an antihistamine, not a corticosteroid or decongestant. This type of treatment is only available by prescription. It can be used up to twice per day, according to a 2008 review.

Azelastine is intended to treat symptoms such as:

  • runny nose
  • watery eyes
  • nasal congestion

Can you overdose on nasal spray?

Double-dosing your nasal spray once in a while is probably not going to harm your body.

But regular overuse of steroid nasal spray can put you at a higher risk of developing side effects, like dryness, burning, and stinging.

With any nasal spray, nosebleeds are the most common side effect.

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Nasal sprays aren’t the only type of allergy treatments for allergic rhinitis. You may also want to consider:

Nasal sprays are a great way to help stop hay fever symptoms. You should choose a nasal spray according to your symptoms, since different active ingredients treat different symptoms.

No nasal spray or other treatment can be used to permanently cure allergies. All nasal sprays for hay fever should be used according to label instructions and your doctor’s advice.