Intranasal corticosteroids (nasal sprays) have been shown to be effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis (hayfever). Allergic rhinitis usually occurs in children over the age of two. Younger children usually have not had sufficient exposure to certain allergens (i.e. pollen, dust mite, mold, etc.) to develop allergic rhinitis. Symptoms may include nasal congestion, runny nose, swelling of intranasal structures as well as itchy, watery eyes. Nasal sprays can reduce the amount of inflammation that occurs when a patient is experiencing these symptoms.
Several intranasal steroid medications are available.
Mometasone furoate (NASONEX) – Recommended for children as young as two years.
Fluticasone proprionate (FLONASE) – Recommended for children as young as four years old.
Budesonide (RHINOCOURT AQUA) – Recommended for children as young as six years old.
These nasal sprays are typically available over-the-counter and patients are instructed to use one or two sprays to each nostril daily. Since these medications do not help the relief of watery, itchy eyes, we may recommend that patients be treated with allergy eye drops or oral antihistamines in addition to nasal sprays. Oral antihistamines are particularly useful if the patient has a significant runny nose (rhinorrhea), since nasal sprays cannot be used optimally if nasal secretions are washing out the effects of the nasal spray.
While it is true that nasal spray medications are steroids, studies to date (November 2017) have shown that there safe with minimal systemic side effects.