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    Mayo Clinic Minute: Combat allergies like a pro by learning how to use your nasal spray properly

For millions of Americans, spring allergies wreak havoc on their sinuses, and many use a nasal spray for relief.

But Dr. Alexei Gonzalez Estrada, a Mayo Clinic allergy specialist, says most won't get as much relief from that spray as they expect.

The reason: They're doing it wrong.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is in the downloads. Read the script.

"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," says Dr. Gonzalez Estrada.

He explains that when you don't use a nasal spray correctly ...

"... 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 says. "That's one of the side effects of using a nasal spray is actually bleeding. So that's because they were using it incorrectly."

So what is the correct way to use nasal spray so you get allergy relief without the bleeding?

"You have to shake it and make sure it comes out, and you're going to tilt your head down like this," he says while demonstrating. "And what happens is most people go up like this, and that's just going to actually just spray your bone in the nose here. You actually want to aim toward the ear like this. Spray, snort slowly, shake it again, aim toward the ear, spray, snort slowly."

And if you learn the proper technique, Dr. Gonzalez Estrada says you're much more likely to get the allergy relief you are hoping for.