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ENT Conditions and Procedures
How to use nasal sprays Download as PDF

How to use nasal sprays

A step-by-step guide

  1. Wash your hands and gently blow your nose.
  2. Gently shake the nasal spray. Twist the cap anti-clockwise to remove it.
  3. Keep your head upright. Insert the nozzle tip into one nostril. Keep your other nostril open.
  4. Hold the bottle with your index and middle finger at the top, and your thumb at the bottom (Figure 1a).
  5. Try to direct the spray away from the septum (the middle part inside the nose). You may find it easier using your right hand for spraying your left nostril and vice versa (Figure 1b).
  6. Breathe in gently as you spray. Do not sniff hard as the spray then travels past the nose into the throat.
  7. After spraying both nostrils, clean the nozzle and replace the cap.

Figure 1a. How to hold the nasal spray bottle
Figure 1b. How to apply the nasal spray away from the nasal septum
Illustrations by Thomas Newman (

Extra tips for nasal medications

  • If you have an unpleasant taste after using nasal medications, drinking water or a flavoured drink may help.
  • If you develop soreness or bleeding, you may be using the medications incorrectly. Re-check the instructions and make sure you are not pressing the container against the septum (middle part inside the nose). If this does not settle, speak to a medical professional.
  • Don’t use decongestant nasal sprays for more than five days in a row. This can actually make the congestion worse by causing the lining of the nose to swell every time it is stopped.


Disclaimer: This publication is designed for the information of patients. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, the information contained may not be comprehensive and patients should not act upon it without seeking professional advice.


Date Published: 24/09/2022 Review Date: 24/09/2025

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