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Top 10 Best Nasal Sprays for Allergies

Written by Andrew Le, MD

UpdatedFebruary 29, 2024

Nasal sprays are an effective solution for alleviating allergy symptoms by reducing swelling and clearing mucus directly in the nasal passages where irritation from allergens often occurs. Some of them work within 15 minutes after use. Their localized treatment minimizes side effects compared to oral medications and provides fast, effective relief at the source of the problem.

This article will discuss the 10 best nasal sprays to help relieve allergy symptoms. We’ll also discuss what makes each suitable and how they can help you feel better.

Types of Nasal Sprays for Allergies

Nasal sprays are liquid medications squirted into the nasal passages to alleviate nasal congestion commonly caused by colds or allergies. They work by relieving stuffiness and reducing nasal discharge. These sprays deliver the medication in a fine mist, released from a pressurized container with a valve for adequate symptom relief.

​​There are a variety of nasal sprays on the market with different mechanisms of action. Knowing the differences is essential in making an informed choice on allergy relief. Here are the different types of nasal sprays that combat allergy symptoms.

1. Antihistamine Sprays

These sprays target nasal allergy symptoms by blocking histamine. Common side effects of antihistamine nasal sprays include the following:

  • Bitter taste
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth and nose

You can get these with a prescription; some are also available over the counter. Prescription options include the following medications:

  • Patanase (Olopatadine)
  • Astelin (Azelastine)

An example of an OTC antihistamine is Astepro (the OTC version of Astelin)

2. Steroid Nasal Sprays

These are preferred for various allergy symptoms, especially for reducing inflammation and congestion. They work best when used regularly, typically once daily for a few weeks.

Common side effects of using steroid nasal sprays include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Nasal irritation
  • Cough

If you've had nose surgery, an untreated sinus infection, tuberculosis, or if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to a doctor before using steroid nasal sprays.

Examples of steroid nasal sprays in the market are:

  • Rhinocort (Budesonide)
  • Flonase (Fluticasone)
  • Nasonex (Mometasone)
  • Nasacort (Triamcinolone)
  • Veramyst (Fluticasone furoate)

3. Mast Cell Inhibitor Sprays

Mast cell inhibitor nasal sprays work by helping prevent the release of histamine, reducing allergy symptoms when used consistently. They help control allergic reactions over time but don't provide quick relief. Still, they're essential for long-term allergy management.

Typical side effects are the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal burning or irritation
  • Unpleasant taste

Given their safety profile, mast cell inhibitor sprays suit many users, including children and adults.

An example of a mast cell inhibitor nasal spray available OTC is Cromolyn sodium (Nasalcrom).

4. Decongestant Sprays

Decongestant nasal sprays provide immediate relief for nasal congestion but should be used short-term to avoid rebound congestion. It is generally advisable to avoid use beyond 3-4 consecutive days before taking a break from use.

These sprays shrink blood vessels in the nose to lessen congestion, but they don't stop sneezing or a runny nose. They give quick relief and are often used for sudden nasal blockage.

Common side effects associated with decongestant sprays are the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Nausea
  • Sinus pains
  • Vomiting
  • Dryness or burning in the nose
  • Rebound congestion with prolonged use, which can be difficult to treat

Contraindications for decongestant sprays include individuals who have the following conditions:

Some of the decongestant nasal sprays found on the market are the following:

  • Afrin (Oxymetazoline)
  • Zicam (Oxymetazoline)
  • Sinex (Oxymetazoline)
  • Dristan (Phenylephrine)
  • Neo-Synephrine (Phenylephrine)

5. Saline Sprays

Saline nasal sprays moisturize the nasal passages, which helps to thin mucus and moisturize the nasal lining. They can be used without side effects except for possible mild irritation.

Common side effects are minimal but can include the following:

  • Mild nasal irritation
  • A brief stinging sensation if the nasal passages are very dry

Examples of saline nasal spray products include the following:

  • Arm & Hammer Simply Saline (Sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate)
  • Ayr (Sodium chloride 0.65%)
  • Amazon Basic Care Premium Saline Nasal Moisturizing Spray
  • Ocean nasal

6. Anticholinergic Sprays

Anticholinergic nasal sprays help dry up a runny nose by blocking acetylcholine, making them effective for allergic and nonallergic rhinitis.

Side effects associated with anticholinergic sprays can include the following:

  • Dryness of the nasal mucosa
  • Irritation or burning sensation in the nose
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth

People with narrow-angle glaucoma or trouble urinating should be careful with anticholinergics, and they're recommended for children.

The market offers Atrovent (Ipratropium bromide, 0.03%) as a prescription anticholinergic nasal spray. There are no OTC anticholinergic nasal sprays available.

Top 10 Best Nasal Sprays for Allergies

We understand the importance of effective allergy relief, especially in wanting to feel comfortable doing daily tasks without allergy symptoms. That's why we have meticulously researched and compiled a list of the top 10 best nasal sprays for allergies.

Our selection is based on carefully evaluating factors such as the following:

  • Efficacy
  • Active Ingredient
  • Potency
  • Each of administration
  • Potential side effects

Whether you're seeking immediate relief from acute symptoms or a long-term solution for managing your allergies, our top recommendations are detailed below.

Flonase Allergy Relief Nasal Spray

Flonase Allergy Relief Nasal Spray, a nasal steroid, is distinguished by its 24-hour efficacy in providing exceptional relief from a broad spectrum of symptoms triggered by various allergens. Each spray contains 50 mcg of fluticasone propionate, a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation in the nasal passages, thus alleviating allergy symptoms. The spray is engineered to deliver metered doses, ensuring accurate medication delivery with every use. A single nasal spray contains 144 sprays priced at approximately $18.30.


  • Delivers 24-hour relief from a wide range of allergy symptoms
  • Prescription-strength results without drowsiness
  • User-friendly nasal spray suitable for adults and children over twelve


  • Possible side effects include headaches and sore throat
  • It may not be effective for all users or suitable for specific health conditions

Flonase provides a full day's relief from symptoms like nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and sneezing. Its non-drowsy formula allows individuals to carry on with their day undisturbed.

Although it usually starts working from the first day of use, remember that it may not suit everyone, and some may experience mild side effects, such as:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal burning or itching

Overall, Flonase Allergy Relief Nasal Spray comes highly recommended for its effective, long-lasting relief from many allergy symptoms, offering a dependable solution for both seasonal and year-round allergy sufferers.

Afrin No Drip 12-Hour Pump Mist

Afrin's No Drip Nasal Decongestant Spray, featuring 0.05% oxymetazoline, a potent decongestant, is an excellent choice for individuals grappling with severe nasal congestion seeking a rapid and mess-free remedy. The inclusion of menthol not only clears the sinuses but also imparts a refreshing sensation, enhancing the relief experience. This nasal decongestant spray is available at a price of $17.23 for two bottles. As with any decongestant, limiting Afrin's use to no more than 3-4 consecutive days is crucial to avert rebound congestion, a common concern with decongestant nasal sprays.


  • Provides instant relief with effects that last up to 12 hours
  • No-drip formula stays in place, preventing it from going down your throat
  • Infused with menthol for a cooling, soothing feel


  • Risks rebound congestion if used for a long time
  • The strong menthol formula might be too intense for some

Afrin's no-drip feature assures that the spray acts where needed, avoiding the typical post-spray drip. Although it's designed to deliver relief for half a day, meaning fewer applications, users should adhere to the guidelines to avoid rebound effects.

Its side effects include:

  • Severe burning or stinging in the nose
  • Chest pain
  • Fast or uneven heart rate
  • Severe headaches

Afrin's No Drip Nasal Decongestant Spray is one of the best nasal sprays for congestion. It provides immediate and lasting congestion relief with the cooling benefits of menthol.

FlutiCare Allergy Relief Nasal Spray

FlutiCare Nasal Spray, formulated with fluticasone propionate, a corticosteroid, comes highly recommended for individuals seeking relief from allergy symptoms without the risk of drowsiness. This allows users to remain active and alert throughout their day without interruption. Each bottle of FlutiCare Nasal Spray offers 120 metered doses, providing precise and consistent delivery of medication with each use, all for $16.

FlutiCare's active ingredient, fluticasone propionate, functions by reducing inflammation in the nasal passages, effectively alleviating symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy nose, and runny nose associated with allergies. Its formulation ensures that it targets the root cause of allergy symptoms without affecting the user's alertness or energy levels.


  • Guarantees 24-hour relief from nasal allergy discomfort
  • Its non-drowsy formula means your daily activities won't be hindered by fatigue
  • Offers 120 metered sprays, ensuring a lasting supply for symptom management
  • Suitable for children over four with adult supervision


  • Not intended for use by children younger than four
  • Must be used daily to maintain its full effect

FlutiCare contains 50 mcg of fluticasone propionate per spray. It also features a non-drowsy formula and comes in metered sprays, which provide a precise and reliable dosage. Its user-friendly design and efficient formula make it a valuable addition to your allergy defense strategy.

Some of its common side effects include:

  • Change in the sense of smell or taste
  • Cough and headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
Rhinocort Allergy Nasal Spray

We highly recommend Rhinocort Nasal Allergy Relief Spray for those searching for a reliable and affordable remedy for seasonal or environmental allergies. This nasal spray is powered by 64 mcg of budesonide per spray, a corticosteroid that effectively provides 24-hour relief from allergy symptoms. This means users need only apply it once a day for continuous protection. Available in an 8.43 ml bottle that delivers 120 metered sprays, Rhinocort is priced at $19.95.

Budesonide, the active component in Rhinocort, operates by decreasing inflammation within the nasal passages, thus alleviating allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy nose, and a runny nose. Its formulation is designed for long-lasting effect, ensuring users can go about their day without frequent reapplications.


  • Provides 24-hour relief from allergy symptoms with just one daily dose
  • Potent and effective formulation without the need for a prescription
  • Scent-free and alcohol-free formula for a gentle experience
  • Suitable for both adults and children aged six and above


  • Not intended for children under six years of age
  • Some users may experience slower growth with long-term use in children

Rhinocort effectively alleviates allergy symptoms such as congestion, sneezing, and an itchy nose. Its common side effects are:

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Nosebleeds
  • Unpleasant taste/ smell

The absence of scent and alcohol in the formula adds to the comfort of use, making it a gentle choice that's still potent. It's convenient for adults and kids over six, making it versatile for family use.

Neo-Synephrine Nasal Spray Extra Strength Formula

Neo-Synephrine Extra Strength Formula could be the answer if you're searching for a reliable and budget-friendly nasal spray for congestion. Neo-Synephrine contains 0.1% of phenylephrine HCl, which is a decongestant. It offers swift action in clearing congestion due to colds, allergies, or other respiratory issues. You can get this 15ml bottle of nasal spray for only $4.59. As a decongestant nasal spray, Neo-Synephrine should not be used for more than 3-4 consecutive days before taking a break from the medication. This will help prevent rebound congestion.


  • Provides fast relief from nasal congestion
  • The non-drowsy formula means you can use it during the day without getting sleepy
  • Comes in a maximum-strength dose for powerful symptom relief
  • Available in a value pack, which is convenient for ongoing use or for several people


  • The relief is temporary, so you may need to use it repeatedly
  • It is not suitable for everyone, especially if you have certain health conditions or are sensitive to its ingredients

Neo-Synephrine is especially handy for staying alert and active during the day because it doesn't make you drowsy. It is also designed for simple and direct use, offering quick relief.

Some common side effects of this nasal spray include:

  • Severe sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Swelling or redness
  • Stinging/burning sensation in the nasal cavity
  • Rebound congestion

Remember that while it works quickly, the effects are short-lived, and it's not for long-term management of nasal symptoms. Neo-Synephrine Nasal Spray comes highly recommended for those looking for an immediate, non-drowsy solution to nasal congestion, conveniently packaged for frequent use.

Xlear Natural Saline Nasal Spray

Xlear Saline Nasal Spray, a standout choice for daily sinus care, incorporates a unique mechanism of action through its saline and xylitol formulation, making it both dependable and cost-effective. Available at $10 for a 45 ml bottle, this nasal spray is designed for those looking for an effective way to maintain sinus health without using medicated components like nasal steroids or decongestants.

The primary mechanism of Xlear lies in its combination of a saline solution with xylitol. Saline solutions are well-known for their ability to moisten nasal passages and alleviate congestion by thinning mucus, making it easier to flush out irritants and allergens. Xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol, adds to this effect by inhibiting the attachment of bacteria and other pathogens to the nasal tissues, thus providing a protective barrier that enhances the body's natural cleansing processes.


  • Hydrates and cleans nasal passages using a natural saline solution
  • Includes xylitol to lessen inflammation and block irritants
  • A safe and non-addictive option free from GMOs, steroids, and chemicals
  • Provides approximately 240 fine mist applications per bottle for easy use


  • Might need to be used often for the best results
  • The xylitol content might not be preferred by all due to personal sensitivities or tastes

Xlear Saline Nasal Spray is effective in soothing and clearing sinuses, particularly before bedtime, to aid in reducing snoring and ensuring better breathing. Some of its common side effects include:

  • Temporary burning in the nose
  • Dryness
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing

Its non-addictive, chemical-free formulation is ideal for adults and children, offering a gentle yet effective alternative for sinus health. This spray is recommended for its natural approach to moisturizing and decongesting the nasal passages, proving to be a valuable addition to everyday health routines.

NasalCrom Nasal Spray

NasalCrom Nasal Spray is highly recommended for those searching for an effective, budget-friendly option to manage allergy symptoms. Priced at $20.99 for a 26 ml bottle, this nasal spray utilizes a distinct mechanism of action through its active ingredient, cromolyn sodium, at a concentration of 5.2 mg per spray.

Cromolyn sodium, the critical component of NasalCrom, functions as a mast cell stabilizer. This means it prevents the release of histamine and other inflammatory substances from mast cells in the nasal passages that occur in response to allergens. By inhibiting this release, NasalCrom effectively reduces the symptoms associated with allergies, such as nasal congestion, sneezing, itching, and runny nose, without directly acting as a decongestant or nasal steroid.


  • Delivers prevention and control of allergy symptoms without steroids
  • Its non-drowsy formula is safe for frequent use, even for young children
  • Offers the strength of a prescription allergy solution over-the-counter
  • Its gentle formulation makes it appropriate for children as young as two years old


  • It may take several days of use before you notice the full benefits
  • Some users might experience a brief sensation of stinging or sneezing after application

NasalCrom’s active ingredient, cromolyn sodium, works to stop allergy symptoms before they start by stabilizing mast cells. 200 sprays per bottle prevents allergy symptoms such as runny noses, sneezing, and itchiness.

Its common side effects are:

  • Severe burning
  • Irritation, or stinging in the nose
  • Nosebleeds

It's best to start using it a week or two before coming into contact with known allergens, but it can also relieve ongoing symptoms. Be mindful that patience is key with NasalCrom as it builds up its effectiveness over a few days.

Nasacort Allergy 24-HR

Nasacort Allergy 24HR nasal spray is an excellent recommendation for individuals seeking prescription-strength medication to alleviate common allergy symptoms. This nasal spray delivers 55 mcg of triamcinolone acetonide per spray, a corticosteroid that effectively reduces inflammation in the nasal passages. At $16.99 for a 60-spray dose bottle, Nasacort is recognized as one of the leading nasal sprays for sinus relief, offering relief and comfort from nasal symptoms.

Triamcinolone acetonide, the active ingredient in Nasacort, acts as a nasal steroid. It reduces the inflammatory responses in the nasal passages triggered by allergens. This decrease in inflammation reduces symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, itching, and runny nose.


  • Delivers prescription-strength relief from allergy symptoms without a prescription
  • Tackles various allergens like pollen, dander, mold, and ragweed effectively
  • Offers 24-hour symptom relief in a scent-free, alcohol-free, non-drowsy formula
  • Its non-stinging mist directly treats the inflammation causing nasal symptoms


  • Effectiveness may vary depending on your specific allergen sensitivities
  • Consistent, regular use is necessary for optimal symptom management

Known for its effectiveness against pollen, dander, mold, and ragweed, this over-the-counter steroid nasal spray is a powerful ally for those suffering from nasal allergies. Its easy-to-use, scent-free, and alcohol-free mist provides up to 24 hours of relief without the risk of drowsiness.

Some of its side effects are:

  • Unpleasant smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Cough

It has a non-stinging formula and targets nasal symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal itching, and congestion by treating the inflammation directly. This makes it ideal for allergy sufferers who want to maintain an active lifestyle despite their symptoms.

Vicks Sinex Severe Nasal Spray

Vicks Sinex Severe nasal spray comes highly recommended for individuals seeking fast and effective relief from severe nasal congestion and sinus pressure. Priced at approximately $9.96, this nasal spray offers 265 doses of 0.05% oxymetazoline, a powerful decongestant that provides up to 12 hours of relief.

Oxymetazoline, the active ingredient in Vicks Sinex Severe, works as a decongestant by constricting the blood vessels in the nasal passages. This action reduces the swelling and congestion, thereby relieving the pressure and opening up the nasal airways..


  • Offers up to 12 hours of relief from severe congestion and sinus pressure
  • Uses a potent decongestant for fast-acting relief right where it's needed
  • Enhanced with soothing aloe and Vicks Vapors for a more comfortable use
  • Eligible for purchase with health savings and flexible spending accounts


  • Not intended for daily or long-term use
  • Only suitable for children aged 6 and above with supervision

This oxymetazoline-based formula acts quickly to shrink swollen nasal passages, and the addition of aloe, along with the classic Vicks scent, makes the application process quite soothing. It's beneficial for temporary relief when a cold or allergy hits hard.

Common side effects of this spray are:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Mild burning, dryness, irritation, and a cold feeling in the nose.

Designed as an ultra-fine mist with added aloe and the signature soothing Vicks Vapors, it offers a comfortable application process.

Astepro Allergy Nasal Spray

We recommend Astepro Allergy nasal spray if you're looking for an effective and rapid relief from allergy symptoms. Astepro provides all-day relief within 30 minutes. Astepro nasal spray contains 205.5 mcg of azelastine per spray and is priced at around $30.12 for a 200-metered spray bottle.

Azelastine, the active ingredient in Astepro, functions as an antihistamine. It works by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that triggers allergic symptoms when exposed to an allergen. By inhibiting histamine, azelastine effectively reduces symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy nose, offering rapid and sustained relief.


  • Begins to relieve symptoms in as little as 30 minutes
  • Provides all-day relief from nasal allergy symptoms
  • Free from steroids, alcohol, and fragrance, making it gentle and non-irritating


  • Some may need to use it twice a day for optimal effect
  • It's focused on nasal symptoms and doesn't address full-body allergic reactions

Astepro is a user-friendly spray that delivers a measured dose of Azelastine HCl. It provides a full day's respite from nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing without a prescription.

Its side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Mouth or throat pain
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Headache
  • Nasal pain or discomfort

The product's efficacy comes from its antihistamine properties, which block histamines to alleviate symptoms swiftly. It works for outdoor and indoor allergies, and you only need to use it once or twice daily.

As a steroid-free, alcohol-free, and fragrance-free solution, it's designed for adults looking for a non-irritating and fast-acting allergy remedy.

The Bottom Line

The top nasal spray for countering allergy symptoms is Flonase. Flonase provides relief for eye- and nasal-allergy-related symptoms. It comes in a metered dose and lasts all day, making it a preferred choice for continuous symptom management.

This spray has been proven effective in treating the immediate concerns of allergies, such as congestion and irritation, right where they occur.

For those looking for sustained or quick relief, Flonase provides comfort and relief from allergy symptoms with minimal side effects. While available over the counter, individuals should still evaluate these choices with their doctors to determine the best nasal spray for their allergy management plan.

FAQs on Nasal Sprays for Allergies

Are nasal sprays for allergies safe during pregnancy?

Not all nasal sprays are safe to use during pregnancy. If you want nasal relief, you may use saline-only sprays. They are generally considered safe as they contain only salt and water with no added steroids or chemicals. However, you should consult with your doctor before use for other types of nasal sprays.

Can children use nasal sprays?

Adult supervision is advised when using nasal sprays for children aged 6 to 12 years. It's not recommended for younger children under 6. However, saline drops can be safely used for children over two years old, following appropriate age-specific guidelines.

How often should I use a nasal spray for allergies?

This will depend on the type of nasal spray used and the severity of your condition. T. It’s always best to follow your doctor’s dosing instructions.

How do I choose the best nasal spray to relieve my allergies?

When searching for the best nasal spray to alleviate your allergy symptoms, focus on over-the-counter steroid and antihistamine sprays. These are widely recognized as the best nasal sprays for their efficacy and safety in daily use for adults and children, as long as you adhere to the recommended dosage.