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How to Make Saline Solution for Nebulizer

How To Make Saline Solution at Home for Your Nebulizer

How To Make Saline Solution at Home for Your Nebulizer

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According to the American Lung Association, chronic lung diseases adversely impact the lives of over 34 million Americans annually. That number doesn’t include the tens of millions of people who struggle with allergic reactions, other immune system reactions, or acute health problems like colds and sinusitis that impact their breathing. It also doesn’t include the tens of thousands of people exposed daily to second-hand cigarette smoke. Everyone in the nation also deals with some exposure to environmental air pollutants from burning fossil fuels and common everyday usage of hazardous chemicals that can eventually cause one or more chronic respiratory conditions.

An at-home nebulizer serves as a critical medicinal inhalant device for the treatment of respiratory illnesses and lung diseases like allergies, asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestion, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia and sinusitis. It releases a fine mist of medicine or standalone saline that helps open the airways so that a person who uses one can breathe more easily. Our TruNeb portable nebulizer works with formulations that contain medicine and saline and standalone saline solution.

We understand that medical-grade saline produced by a third-party company isn’t always budget-friendly or safe enough for many customers. We’ve created this guide to help TruNeb and owners of other nebulizer products safely make cost-effective saline at home.

Why is Saline Important?

The human body naturally contains sodium chloride (NaCl), or salt, in fluids. The medical community uses the term saline to describe a solution of sodium chloride and water used for a wide range of purposes. A saline solution dilutes and distributes a medication more evenly in a nebulizer mist. It also acts as a moisturizer for the respiratory system. It can provide much-needed moisture to the lungs and sinuses and loosen mucus to ease congestion and promote more productive coughs.

Additionally, medical professionals prefer to use saline in various treatment applications because sodium chloride naturally inhibits bacterial growth. TruNeb nebulizer users might see saline referred to as an “antibacterial agent” for this reason. Many people commonly use saline to clean cuts, scrapes and other wounds; rinse or irrigate the mouth and nose; remove and clean contact lenses; and treat dehydration through an intravenous line (IV). Yet saline solutions also help disinfect air-treatment equipment like nebulizers, inhalers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

How To Make Saline Solution For Nebulizer

Why Does the Type of Saline Matter?

In some of the previously stated examples, medical professionals alone must distribute or use saline, such as when someone needs dehydration treated intravenously. Additionally, no one should use homemade saline near their eyes or contact lenses unless they have experience with this application. It’s far too easy for someone to fail to dissolve the salt crystals enough and accidentally cause abrasions to the eyes or contact lenses. A person might also fail to make a sterile enough solution and cause a bacterial eye infection.

That said, when correctly formulated, homemade saline is perfect for use with a nebulizer. Every saline solution has a unique concentration. The type of sodium chloride and water also matter. For example, regular table salt and tap water contain impurities like heavy metals and minerals that can affect the PH balance of the solution and allow inhalation of harmful substances.

People commonly hear saline solutions referred to as medical or non-medical grade, isotonic and hypertonic. Medical grade refers to the purity of the sodium chloride. The salt must have a 99.9% purity level. It’s also commonly referred to as “pharmaceutical grade.” In addition, medical grade can refer to a specific amount of sodium chloride. The most common form of medical-grade saline contains 0.9% dissolved sodium chloride per 100 mL of fluid.

Isotonic and hypertonic saline refer to the amount of NaCl as well. Experts sometimes refer to these solutions as crystalloid fluids. Isotonic saline solutions contain a concentration of NaCl closest to the amount found in human body fluids (i.e., blood, tears and sweat) and help increase the volume of fluid in the body. Several similar intravenous fluids exist, such as 5% dextrose in water or D5W. Hypertonic solutions contain more salt, dextrose or other substances (i.e., greater than or > the amount found naturally in the body). Hypotonic solutions that contain more water also exist.

TruNeb customers can use both isotonic and hypertonic homemade or retail saline solutions in their nebulizers. Any solution works.

Ingredient Preparation and Precautions

A medical-grade solution of saline works best for nebulizers. As a result, it’s critical that nebulizer owners who want or need to use homemade saline invest in distilled purified water and non-iodized salt (i.e., kosher or pickling) or pharmaceutical-grade salt. The best saline solutions also contain baking soda to decrease irritation.

Given concerns about bacteria growth and sterile solutions, anyone who prepares a homemade saline solution must sterilize the tools they plan to use to prepare and store the mixture and their hands. Necessary tools include a small saucepan or dipper pot, a metal spoon and a glass container with a lid. They must wash these tools and their hands thoroughly with soap and distilled water. They also need to sterilize their kitchen work zone.

How to Make and Use Saline

For nebulizer purposes, the saline preparer only needs 1 cup of water (8 oz or 240 ml), 1/2 tsp. of salt (2.5 g) and 1/4 tsp. of baking soda (1g). After mixing these ingredients, they should boil the solution for at least five minutes to dissolve all the crystals and sterilize the saline. To guarantee that all the salt crystals dissolve in the water, stir the solution intermittently with the metal spoon while it boils.

Once the solution cools, it’s perfect for use in the chamber or cup of a non-portable or portable nebulizer. The person who prepared the solution or the patient who needs to use the nebulizer merely pours it into the device’s medicine chamber, attaches their mask or mouthpiece, turns on the power, and inhales the mist.

An Important Note About Cleanup

Even with the antibacterial properties of saline, it’s important to always clean the nebulizer at least once a week after using a homemade or retail solution. The human mouth contains more than 700 microbial species, including many different types of bacteria and fungi. Billions of these microbes exist in the mouth at any given time.

The most common homemade cleaning solution contains equal parts distilled water and white vinegar. A TruNeb nebulizer owner soaks the parts exposed to medicine and the mouth for approximately 30 minutes. They air-dry the parts for another half hour. To disinfect the entire device, especially while traveling, remove the mask or mouthpiece and any accessory parts, nebulize a solution of distilled water and three drops of white vinegar without inhalation, nebulize a second time with only distilled water, lightly shake away droplets, and then air-dry the device.

How Do You Make Medical Grade Saline Solution

Is Saline Storage Possible?

A homemade saline solution isn’t supposed to last forever. TruNeb customers shouldn’t attempt to make bulk solutions to store for longer than a day. Although sodium chloride inhibits bacteria growth and pharmaceutical companies invest a lot of money into sterilization of their saline products, using opened retail saline isn’t recommended after 30 days of storage in a refrigerator.

No at-home preparation in a kitchen can duplicate commercial results. If a solution has any bacteria in it, storage in a sterile container in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator beyond 24 hours typically causes bacteria growth and increases the risk of future infection during the use of a nebulizer. If saline looks cloudy within the 24-hour period, the device owner should throw it out and make a fresh solution. Otherwise, always make a fresh saline batch before using the nebulizer.

Are Retail Saline Products Safer?

As noted, medical-grade saline products created by pharmaceutical companies last longer than homemade saline solutions. Companies take extensive steps to eliminate bacteria. They make their solutions under the best conditions in the most sterile environments possible. They also use storage containers specially designed to prevent environmental bacteria from easily contaminating their products. A consumer can then open the product, use part of it, store the rest, and not worry about bacteria growth as much as someone who makes homemade saline.

Yet, not every company uses the same level of caution, and accidents can happen. In recent years, especially with an increase in demand during the height of the pandemic and supply shortages, consumers have witnessed an increase in the distribution of products that cause infections. Additionally, many retailers have started to cut costs by taking chances with cheaper, newer suppliers who don’t have a strong history of product quality trust, as seen with many expensive name-brand pharmaceutical companies. More people in recent years have also turned to online marketplaces to purchase their saline. Given the lack of background checks and security on many of these sites, consumers have experienced more retail fraud related to false medical-grade claims and the sale of unsafe products.

It’s wise to always purchase medical- or pharmaceutical-grade sterile saline from a local pharmacy that uses a trusted supplier or to take the time to make homemade solutions. To guarantee the safety of retail products, pay close attention to recall notices in the news and check a pharmaceutical company’s website every few weeks for product updates.

Why Trust TruNeb for Nebulizer Support?

Our TruNeb team consists of medical professionals who created the company in 2018 after experiencing common industry frustrations related to home nebulizer affordability, effectiveness and portability. We are respiratory illness experts who believe that children and adults can experience a high-quality mist inhalant treatment and better breathing without an expensive or irritatingly loud, bulky or large machine that’s inconvenient for use outside the home.

We’ve designed the TruNeb nebulizer as an affordable, fast and safe alternative. Our modern TruNeb portable handheld mesh nebulizer, which features 1,000 microscopic holes to create an “atomized mist,” has received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We’ve designed the compact device for effortless, rapid and quiet usage with nebulizer-approved medications and both homemade and retail pharmaceutical saline solutions. The design also makes cleanup using an approved solution a snap.

We know how difficult it is for consumers to afford the equipment they need to improve their quality of life through regular or emergency breathing or lung disease treatments. We also know that traditional nebulizer manufacturers fail to take into account how people live their lives and the speed at which they need their treatments to work. As a result, we’ve made our product available without a prescription, and we’re happy to provide a do-it-yourself option that reduces the cost of saline solutions. 

For Further Information

https://www.lung.org/about-us/our-impact
https://acaai.org/allergies/allergies-101/facts-stats/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saline_(medicine)
https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/article?contentid=3040&language=english
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000006.htm
https://www.ivwatch.com/2021/06/18/whats-in-my-iv-a-deep-dive-on-the-many-types-of-iv-fluids
https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/article?contentid=3040&language=english#:~:text=Bacteria%20can%20grow%20in%20saline,bacteria%20from%20contaminating%20the%20solution.
https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/resource-library/how-to-clean-a-nebulizer#:~:text=Your%20nebulizer%20will%20also%20need,in%20a%20cool%2C%20dry%20place.
https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2019/05/mouth-microbes
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