Table of contents:
- 1. Dehydration
- 2. Eye cleaning
- 3. Washing burns or wounds
- 4. Inhalations with serum
- 5. Nose wash
- 6. Face cleansing
- 7. Medication vehicle
- Possible side effects
- Who should not use
Saline solution is a solution that contains 0.9% sodium chloride, a type of s alt, and sterile water, similar to the concentration of sodium in blood and other body fluids, such as tears and sweat, for example.
Generally, saline solution is used in large volumes to infuse into a vein in hospitals in cases of decreased fluid or s alt in the body, or in small amounts to dilute medicines to be applied to the vein or muscle.
Furthermore, 0.9% saline solution can be used to clean wounds, wash the eyes or make nebulizations, for example, being sold in pharmacies, drugstores or supermarkets and purchased without a prescription.
The saline solution, as it has a composition similar to body fluids, can be used in several situations such as:
Saline solution can be used to treat the lack of fluids or s alt in the body, which may occur due to episodes of diarrhea, vomiting, gastric aspiration, digestive fistula, excessive sweating, extensive burns or bleeding. Here's how to identify dehydration.
In these cases, saline helps to replace lost electrolytes and water and maintain adequate fluid volume for the body to function.
How to use: in cases of dehydration, the administration of sterile saline 0.9% should be done directly into the vein, by a he alth professional, in hospitals.
2. Eye cleaning
The saline solution 0.9% can also be used to clean the eyes, but you should always use a closed and sterilized package. For this, the ideal is to opt for single-use individual packages, which can be found in pharmacies or supermarkets.
Although saline solution has a tear-like composition, and the drops can be applied directly to the eyes in cases of specks or contact with irritating substances, it is not recommended to apply drops frequently, as excess s alt can cause or worsen eye irritation. In these cases, it is recommended to consult the ophthalmologist to carry out the most appropriate treatment, which can be with the use of lubricating eye drops, for example. Check the main types of eye drops that can be indicated by the doctor.
How to use: 0.9% saline solution can be used by applying drops in sterile compresses or gauze soaked with this solution, and then cleaning the eyelids and region around the eyes. After cleaning, discard the used gauze and serum bottle.
3. Washing burns or wounds
Washing burns or wounds with saline is one of the most used and safe procedures for cleaning wounds, as it is a non-toxic solution for the skin and does not damage healing tissues.
In addition, saline is similar in composition to body fluids, and the s alt present in the solution forces water out of cells and bacteria keeping the wound clean.
However, saline does not contain substances capable of eliminating bacteria and does not remove debris from wounds. In these cases, in infected wounds, the serum can be used for cleaning before applying other products indicated by the doctor or nurse, such as collagenase ointment or a corticosteroid-based cream, for example.
How to use: To wash the wound or burn with sterile saline, you should always clean the center of the wound towards the edges, using a syringe (without needle) to facilitate the application of the serum, always taking care not to touch the syringe to the wound. The saline solution after opening must be discarded after 24 hours, in order to avoid contamination of the solution and to avoid infecting the wound.
This type of washing can be performed by a he althcare professional in the hospital or at home, in order to eliminate waste from the region that is susceptible to infections. Here's how to make a wound dressing at home.
4. Inhalations with serum
Nebulized saline inhalation is a great treatment for sinusitis, flu or colds, as it helps to humidify the airways and fluidize secretions, clearing the airways and facilitating breathing. In addition, saline is also widely used to dilute medication for inhalation such as budesonide, ipratropium bromide or salbutamol, for example, which prolongs the nebulization time.
How to use: to nebulize, place 5 to 10 mL of sterile 0.9% saline solution in the nebulizer cup, position the mask close to the nose and then breathe in that air for about 20 minutes or until the IV runs out.You should keep your eyes closed and be comfortably seated or lying on a bed. See other ways to nebulize.
5. Nose wash
A great way to unclog your nose is to wash your nose with saline solution and a syringe without a needle, because through the force of gravity the water enters through one nostril and exits through the other, without causing pain or discomfort, eliminating secretions.
In addition, it is also a good way to keep the nose clean, being useful for those who have respiratory allergies, rhinitis or sinusitis, for example. See how to wash your nose.
How to use: to wash your nose, fill a syringe with about 10 mL of sterile 0.9% saline solution, lean your body forward and the head slightly to the side and position the syringe in the entrance of one nostril and press until the serum comes out of the other nostril. It is important to keep your mouth open and also to breathe through your mouth while rinsing with the saline.
Watch the video with the nurse Manuel Reis on how to wash your nose correctly:
6. Face cleansing
Saline solution can also be a great option for washing and taking care of the face, as it does not change the skin's pH, it is well absorbed, leaving the skin of the face softer and hydrated, in addition to promoting a deeper elimination of impurities. See other benefits of saline for the face.
How to use: to apply on the skin, just wet a ball or a cotton pad with the saline solution and make small taps on the face and then let the serum dry naturally and is completely absorbed by the skin. After opening, it is recommended that the saline solution be used within a maximum period of 15 days, stored in a refrigerator.
7. Medication vehicle
In certain situations, sterile 0.9% saline solution can also be used as a medication vehicle, so that they can later be administered directly into the vein, or used to dilute medication in powder form before being applied directly in the muscle.
How to use it: the use of saline solution as a medication vehicle must be done by a he alth professional, such as a nurse or pharmacist, so that it can be applied directly into the vein or muscle, according to medical advice.
Possible side effects
Saline is generally well tolerated and rarely causes side effects. However, side effects depend on the route of administration and there may be swelling, redness, infection or abscess at the injection site.
Furthermore, excessive administration of saline into the vein can increase the amount of sodium in the body and cause dehydration of internal organs, reduced amount of calcium in cells and acidosis. Therefore, its use is only made in hospitals with tests to check the amounts of electrolytes in the blood.
Who should not use
Saline solution should not be used by people who are hypersensitive to sodium chloride or any other component of the product.
In addition, saline should not be used intravenously in patients with excess sodium in the bloodstream, decompensated heart failure, renal failure, or generalized swelling.