That is a saline solution. In this article, we will learn about saline solutions. You will find the answer to all the whats and how here.
What Is A Saline Solution?
A saline solution is a mixture of sodium chloride [NaCl] (table salt) and water. The concentration of the salt in the water differs on its usage purpose. This concentration can make this saline solution isotonic or hypertonic.
Type of Saline Solutions
Normal Saline (NS)
It is a solution made up of sodium chloride and water. The 100ml of normal saline consists of 0.9 grams of sodium chloride, and the rest is distilled water. It can be utilized in the following ways:
- Used in case of dehydration
- To handle Hyponatremia, a condition where sodium levels in the body are low
- Effective to clean wounds without worsening them
- Used as a carrier to carry concentrated medication that can't be injected directly into the body
Dextrose Normal Saline (DNS)
It is a solution made up of anhydrous dextrose, sodium chloride, and distilled water. The anhydrous dextrose is dehydrated, powdered glucose. The 100ml of DNS contains 5 grams of dextrose and 0.9 grams of sodium chloride, and the rest is distilled water.
One thing to keep in mind while using DNS is that you should not give it to a diabetic patient. As it contains glucose, it can be harmful to diabetic patients.
It can be utilized in the following manner:
- Used in case of dehydration
- Used to tackle Hypoglycemia, a condition when the blood sugar level is lower than the standard levels
- Used as a maintenance fluid. Maintenance fluid rehydrates the body, provides energy, and balances the electrolytes in the body
Ringer Lactate (RL)
It is not a type of saline solution, but the major component of this IV fluid is sodium chloride. Thus, it is mentioned here. The composition of components in 100 ml of solution:
- Lactic acid: 0.24 ml
- Sodium hydroxide: 0.115 grams
- Sodium chloride: 0.60 grams
- Potassium chloride: 0.04 grams
- Calcium chloride: 0.027 grams
- Rest is distilled water
It is used when there is heavy blood loss, burning injury, and hypotension (low blood pressure).
How To Prepare Normal Saline Solution At Home?
It is a simple process. It requires only two components: water and sodium chloride (salt). Let's learn the process:
Take a Container
You can use any container to keep the saline solution. Make sure the container is clean and sterile. To sterilize the container, keep it in hot water for a few minutes.
Take 2 Cups of Water
The cup size should be normal.
If you want and have access, use distilled water. Distilled water is the most suggested option. It is available in packed form in a supermarket or ask a medical store near you. If you are using tap water, ensure to boil it on a medium-high flame for about 20 min. It is because normal tap water might contain many microbes that might cause you harm. Thus, always ensure you boil the tap water to purify it a little. Once the water is boiled, let it cool down to room temperature.
Take this water in a container of your choice.
Add One Teaspoon Of Salt
You can use iodized salt (table salt) or unionized salt (sea salt). It is suggested to not use grainy salt as it might be irritating and hard to mix.
Add Baking Soda
This solution can give you a burning sensation. Thus to avoid this, you should add a little baking powder to the solution. You could add half a teaspoon of baking soda to the solution.
Uses Of Saline Solution
There are many uses for saline solution, whether it is store-bought or homemade. These uses are as mentioned below:
It is also known as sinus draining. It is a process in which you use saline solution to drain sinuses from your nasal cavity. Sinuses help to filter the air you breathe. Thus, often time the mucus of the nose becomes thick. It is necessary to drain or clean the nose. In this, nasal irrigation is helpful.
Nasal irrigation helps clear blocked noses and allergic swelling in the nose. It can also be helpful to clean your nasal cavity to drain all the dirt, mucus, microbe, and pollens that your nasal cavity filters from the air.
For this, you can use a ready-to-use saline solution available in the market. You can also prepare your saline solution from scratch at home. This process is easy and quick.
To make a saline solution for nasal irrigation:
- First, take 500 ml or 2 cups of distilled or boiled (cooled downed) water in a container.
- Then add one teaspoon salt to the water.
- Add half a teaspoon or a little more than that baking soda to the water.
- Mix it well, and your homemade saline solution is ready.
How To Perform Nasal Irrigation Using Saline Solution?
- You can use a water pick with an irrigation tip. It is the most preferred tool as it is manageable and easy to use. But, you can use other tools such as a large medical syringe, squeeze bottle, and a neti pot. Once you decide on the tool, fill it with the saline solution.
- Go to the sink and bend down a little and tilt your head to the side. Make sure your chin and your forehead are at the same level. It will help you avoid swallowing the saline solution.
- Once in position, insert the tip of the tool on one side of the nasal cavity and insert the solution in the nasal cavity. The saline solution should come out from the other nose cavity. Try not to swallow it, even if you do not need to worry.
- To make this easier, one should breathe with an open mouth so that the solution does not go to the respiratory system. Repeat the process a few times, and you will see that your nasal cavity is clearer.
- You may feel some burning experience due to the solution, but it will subsidize, and you will get used to it after some uses.
- It is advised that you should perform this only if you have been told by the doctors. But you can use it on your own as well. Children should only be doing this if doctors have advised. It is a little difficult for children and thus, it should be done with very cautious monitoring by adults.
When kids have a clogged nose, this saline solution can be an effective way to deal with the situation. It is vital to understand that the kids are not directly exposed to nasal irrigation. It can be hard for them, and they might feel discomfort.
To tackle this, the following steps should be adopted by parents to make the process easier for children:
- Explains to the children what this process is in very simple terms. It will help them understand the concept. They might panic a little, but be gentle and handle them and explain them again.
- Start with getting them used to the feeling of the saline solution in their nose. You can do this by using a nasal spray or a nasal drop.
- You can do this by laying children in a comfortable position. Spray or insert a few drops of the saline solution into the nasal cavity. Tilt their head a little backside so that the saline solution can go a little deeper into the cavity. This will loosen the mucus and make it easy to remove. After a minute or so blow their nose properly and clean it.
- Once they get comfortable with this procedure you can perform nasal irrigation with them.
- Take them to the sink. Tilt their head down to the sink and slowly pump the saline solution into the nasal cavity. You can use a squeeze bottle, a large syringe, or a neti pot. This solution will come out of their other nasal cavity or mouth. After the irrigation ask them to properly blow their nose and also clean their nose and mouth properly.
Note that one should perform nasal irrigation for children only if it is suggested by an expert. It is because this can be a tricky process when performed for children. Children below 6-7 years should not be performing this nasal irrigation.
Saline solution can also be used as an eye wash or contact lens cleanser. But, it is advised not to use the saline solution as a replacement for eye drops and lens cleansing solution. No matter the purpose of using the saline solution for eyes and lenses, make sure to buy it from the store or take a doctor's prescription. Home-made saline solution should not be used on the eye, and eye lenses.
Saline solution can be used to clean your eyes. It can be used when there is minor itching and irritation in the eyes, and also a burning sensation in the eye. One can also use saline solution to clean their eyes after exposing them to chlorine water in the swimming pool. The use should be in limit, it is advised to use eye wash instead.
- Wash your hands properly
- Check the expiry date of the solution
- Use store-bought or doctors prescribed solutions only
- Use a limited amount of solution at one time.
- If you have a cut, bruise, or rash around the eyes do not use saline or even eye wash.
The saline solution is often used to clean lenses when they are a little dirty. It can be used when some dirt is settled on the lense. It could be used to wet the lens before use. It is advised not to use saline solution in large amounts on the lens. Do not prepare a homemade saline solution. Always use store-bought or doctors-prescribed saline solution.
- Wash your hands
- Make sure the solution is good
- Do not reuse the solution or store the solution for a long
Wound, if not cleaned, can lead to many problems such as bacterial and fungal infections. Thus, to ensure the proper effect of the healing method, dressing is vital for the wound to be clean. For this purpose, saline solution is used. Some may use water, but that is a little risky. This process of cleaning the wound is known as a wound wash.
While performing surgery, doctors use saline solution to clean the excess bleeding and also clean the organs. It is because when performing the surgery, other chemicals or plain water can create complications. Saline solution can work as a neutral cleanser without hindering the process.
How To Use Saline Solution For Wound Wash
- First, make sure the wounded is in a comfortable position. Ensure the wounded is in a position where the wound can be easily reached without hurting them more.
- Soak a cloth or cotton swab in saline solution, and apply it on the wounded area. You should clean the wounded area thoroughly, this reduces the chances of microbes entering the body through the wound.
- The saline solution for wound wash could be the saline solution available or can be made quickly. Use distilled or altered boiled water at room temperature. Add salt to it and mix well.
- This wound wash is important as it can reduce the irritation of the wound. It also helps to fight the bacteria that may enter the wound. It makes the surface of the wound cleansed so that the healing procedure can work.
- Often time cleaning the wound is enough and simply dressing over it can heal the wound.
The saline solution is the most popular fluid that is used in the IV. The saline solution used in this is hypotonic. The intravenous solution is used for many reasons:
- They are used as maintenance fluid, when the patient is dehydrated, suffering hypogastrium, hypoglycemia, or even hypotension. All this condition requires water and electrolyte balance in the body. Thus, the saline solution can be the perfect option for this.
- Sometimes some medications can't be injected into the body in pure form. Thus, saline solution can be the carries for such medication without causing any further complication to the patient.
One can get dehydrated for many reasons, such as vomiting, excessive sweating, and diarrhea. All of these can cause a loss of water in the body. It can hinder many body functions and even lead to weakness. It is because water is one of the most important fluids of the body. It is also required to perform the daily and essential tasks of the body. It is why if the level of dehydration is concerningly low, then one is injected with a saline solution using an IV.
It is often used as a cleanser when one gets a piercing. It can clean the area without irritating the affected area. This helps to get rid of the bacteria on the surface. The store-bought solution can be used. One can also prepare the solution from scratch with the help of water and salt.
Mix a small amount of salt into distilled or boiled and cool downed water, and your saline water solution is ready to use. One should ask the expert if they can use this, and how to use it.
When you get a sore throat, you can use saline water to ease the pain. It is a very ancient practice and its use is very common. Add half a teaspoon or a full teaspoon of salt into warm water and gargle it. Spot the water out after gargling for some time. It can help you relieve some pain.
It should be noted that, if the sore throat is caused by bacterial infection, salt water is of no use. One should consult a doctor as the bacterial infection has been harmful.
Recently it is seen that many people have benefited from using saltwater on their faces. Especially those who suffer from acne problems. It is said that salt water helps the pimples to dry out better. It also helps you clean the skin. It is ad iced to consult a doctor before using it on your face if you have sensitive skin. It could hurt your skin.
Salt is found to have anti-infection and some healing properties. Dental rinse is a concept in which salt water is used to rinse the mouth. Half a teaspoon of salt is added to a cup of lukewarm water to prepare a saltwater solution for dental rinse. This solution prevents bacterial growth, soothes mouth muscles' pain, and reduces plaque formation.
When tooth extraction is carried out, salt water is made. It is used to rinse the mouth after tooth extraction. It is helpful as a fresh wound of the gum is sensitive to bacteria and other risk factors. Salt water helps avoid such conditions. Salt is found to be having healing properties, which help a healthy recovery from the extraction, ulcers in the mouth, and mouth aches.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Long Can A Homemade Saline Solution Store?
It is suggested to use the fresh saline solution if it is homemade. It should be at most 24 hours old. The risk keeps increasing the more time you keep it stored. Thus, if you prepare saline solution at home, make sure to store it in a cool place and label it with the date it was prepared on. When you use it again, make sure it is clear, and if it seems dusty or smells weird discard it and make a fresh batch.
Is Saline Water Effective In Treating Colds?
It is not yet proven that saline solution can completely cure or treat colds. But, saline solution can help you with the release of mucus that may have clogged your nose. It could provide you with great relief.
Is Saline Solution Safe For The Eyes?
Clinically prepared saline solution or eye wash is safe to use. But, one should not use a homemade saline solution to wash the eyes or lenses. It is because one can make mistake in taking the right amount of salt and preparing the solution. It affects the concentration of the solution. Our eyes are sensitive. Thus, any wrong concentration can adversely affect the eyes. One should use store-bought saline solution or the one that the doctor has suggested.
Can Salt Water Be Used As Mouthwash?
Salt water has many benefits such as protection against bacteria, some healing properties, and many more. It will help to keep your oral health at best. It also helps to relieve some mouth aches. However, one should understand that salt water solution is not a replacement for other dental care practices. One should always brush their teeth, floss their teeth, and also can add salt water to this routine.
The saline solution is an isotonic solution of salt and water. Classic simple saline solution is of 0.9gram concentration of sodium chloride, also known as salt, in 100 ml of water. This solution has various uses such as
- IV fluid as a carrier fluid and maintenance fluid.
- Used for nasal irrigation in both adults and children.
- Used as a wound wash.
- Used as a piercing wound cleanser.
- Used as an eye wash and lens cleanser.
- Used as a dental rinse for various reasons.
- Used for the skin.
In the medical field, there are mainly two types of saline solution as mentioned here.
The normal saline solution (NS): It is a simple mix of sodium chloride [NaCl] (table salt or synthesized salt) and distilled water. 100 ml of NS consists of 0.9 grams of NaCl mixed with the rest of the distilled water. It is used to treat patients suffering from dehydration, wound cleaning, as a carrier fluid, and in the case of Hyponatremia.
Dextrose Normal Saline (DNS): in simple words, it is a mixture of glucose, salt, and water. The 100 ml of DNA contains 5 grams of glucose or dextrose and 0.9 grams of NaCl mixed in the rest of the water. It is used as maintenance fluid, helps with dehydration, and cases help with the case of Hypoglycemia.
One can make saline solution at home using the following procedure:
You will need a pot to boil the water, to make sure it has no harmful microbes. Take a clean and sterilized container to mix and store the saline solution. Salt can be either iodized or sea salt and baking soda.
- First, add 2 cups of water to a container. It could be store-bought distilled water or tap water that is boiled and cooled down.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to it.
- Add half to 1 full teaspoon of baking soda to reduce the burning sensation that the salt will cause.
- Mix the solution thoroughly and use it.
One should avoid using the homemade saline solution for eyes and as a lens cleanser.
- “You can DIY saline solution... and its super easy” by Greatist
- “Is rinsing your sinuses with neti pots safe” by US FDA
- “How to perform nasal irrigation” by Up to Date
- “What is saline wound wash and when should you use it?” by steroplast healthcare
- “What is eye wash solution, and can I make a sterile saline solution at home?” by all about vision
- “What to know about saline solution for children” by WebMD
- “How salt water mouth rinse benefits oral health” by Colgate
- “20 Household and personal health uses for salt water” by organic authority