Pollen counts are high in the Mankato area, and are expected to remain so over the next five days. Spring allergies can wreak havoc on the sinuses, and many use a nasal spray for relief. But a Mayo Clinic allergy specialist says most won’t get as much relief from that spray as they expect.

Dr. Alexei Gonzalez Estrada said that’s usually because they’re doing it wrong. He explained, “So, one of the biggest things that I see when a patient comes to see me where they were referred by a primary care is that they don’t know how to use their nasal sprays correctly.”

When it’s not done right he said the sprays can create different problems because, “If you’re spraying up into your nose, you’re going to be spraying your septum or your nasal bone here, and that actually thins the skin,” he said. “That’s one of the side effects of using a nasal spray is actually bleeding. So that’s because they were using it incorrectly.”

Gonzalez Estrada said there is a correct way to use nasal spray to get allergy relief without the bleeding. He tells patients to tilt their head down, and rather aim the nozzle upward or toward the center of the nose, “You actually want to aim toward the ear like this. Spray, snort slowly, shake it again, aim toward the ear, spray, snort slowly.”

Allergy sufferers who learn the proper technique, Dr. Gonzalez Estrada said, are much more likely to get the allergy relief they are hoping for.