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Decongestants or nasal sprays may help relieve a stuffy nose.
Decongestants shrink swollen tissues in the space behind the eardrum (middle ear). This may relieve pressure and pain. They can be taken by mouth (oral) or in nose drops or sprays. Oral decongestants are probably more effective and provide longer relief than drops or sprays, but they cause more side effects.
Sprays and drops provide rapid but temporary relief. Sprays and drops are less likely to interact with other medicines, which can be a problem with oral decongestants.
For more information about medicine safety, see the topics Over-the-Counter Medicine Precautions and Quick Tips: Giving Over-the-Counter Medicines to Children.
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