Can you sing?
We can’t or at least not very well.
Recent research however shows that after nebulising isotonic saline Sopranos can sing more effortlessly and as a matter of fact over the years we have had occasional calls from exotic visiting entertainers needing a nebuliser to assist their performance.
This research, no doubt, has a more serious aspect and is part of a ‘dehydration challenge’ where dry air and sterile water were used for comparison. Although the results were noticeable, the benefit was only short term which helps explain why some of you will be prescribed saline at regular intervals.
What is isotonic saline?
Isotonic saline is basically sterile salt water at a concentration of 0.9% and often referred to as normal saline. It has many medical uses, nebulisation being just one, but for those of you with a tracheostomy or laryngectomy it can be vital to prevent sticky secretions blocking your airway.
Sticky mucus secretions in lower airways can cause serious long term issues in many chest conditions. They are difficult to clear by coughing and can lead to frequent recurrent chest infections, lung damage and often exhaustion from over coughing and lack of sleep.
Treatment is very individual and can range from being recommended a simple oscillating PEP device such as the Flutter or the Shaker, regular nebulisation with normal saline, to a complex therapeutic regime which may include chest physio, mucolytics, inhaled bronchodilators, antibiotics or steroids.