Saline solution is often used in medicine, mostly as an instant cure for dehydration. It is essentially a solution of salt and water. This solution is sterile and is used for various purposes. Depending upon the ratio of salt and water, saline solutions are classified in different types. Normal saline solution is defined as solution of 0.90% of NaCl by volume, which is about 300 mOsm/L (osmolality per liter). Other types of solutions include half-normal saline (0.45% NaCl), quarter-normal saline (0.22% NaCl), etc. According to their concentration, these solutions are used for various purposes. They are as follows:
This solution is often used as an intravenous infusion in the form of IV drip for severely dehydrated patients. It is also used to provide nutrients for patients who are unable to ingest food orally. The solution containing dextrose or glucose is preferred while intravenous administration. Glucose-mixed solution mitigates the complications that might arise due to the infusion of saline solution. It also limits the amount of sodium circulating through the bloodstream. This solution is mostly beneficial for patients who have suffered severe fluid loss due to vomiting or diarrhea. Intravenous infusion of saline solution is the best and safest form of infusing larger volumes of fluids. However, rapid intravenous infusion of the solution may lead to metabolic acidosis.
This solution is many times used for cleaning a cut or a wound. It does not burn or irritate the skin in any way. Hence, it is often preferred over other cleaning solutions. It gently removes the debris and dried blood from the wound, and cleanses it. It also provides the required moisture to the wound for faster healing. This solution for cleaning wounds can be availed only through a doctor's prescription.
Cleaning Contact Lenses
Any sterile solution can be used for cleaning contact lenses. It effectively removes the debris and protein residue from the contact lenses. The solution used for this purpose may contain certain chemicals for effective cleansing. Therefore, this solution cannot be used for any other purpose.
Using nasal saline solution is an old remedy for nasal congestion and chronic sinus problems. It also promotes good nasal health by freeing the nasal passage of any debris, pollen, or dander. This eventually helps to reduce irritation and blockage of nasal passage. Frequent nasal irrigation has found to be of immense use for curing nasal-cavity problems.
It is possible to prepare this solution at home. Mix half a tsp. of non-iodized salt with a cup of purified water. Cover this solution and allow it to react at room temperature. This home-made solution should be strictly used for nasal irrigation only. For other purposes, buy a saline solution meant for specific purpose, only with a valid prescription. Any doubt regarding the use of the solution should be cleared with a medical practitioner, prior to its use.
Normal saline solution is the best way to restore the lost fluids in sick or traumatized patients; however, a fair amount of caution must be executed during intravenous infusion.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.