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The uses and versatility of sterile water

The uses and versatility of sterile water


What is Sterile Water? What can’t it be? Sterile water has a myriad of uses in medical and everyday applications. Let’s first discuss what it isn’t. Many people confuse sterile water for other potable water preparations such as bacteriostatic water, dextrose water, bottled water, and saline water. Despite sharing a few similarities, these water sources are not equivalent to sterile water.

Sterile water simply put is purified, distilled water with no preservatives or added and no microbial growth. It is also nonpyrogenic, meaning that it won’t cause fevers when in use. The pH or acidity level of sterile water is between 5.0 to 7.0. Now that you have a clear cut definition of sterile water, let’s look at the medical uses first and then move on to non-medical uses.

Sterile Water and Key Roles In Medicine

A majority of professionals and patients have seen sterile water used in hospitals, nursing homes, and home medicine use. The two main categories of medical use of sterile water is injection and irrigation. Injection use includes the various degrees of penetration such as intramuscular (in the muscle), intravenous (in the veins), and subcutaneous (under the skin).It is important to note that sterile water must be mixed with another medicine and never injected alone. Solo injection use will cause hemolysis, or the breaking up of red blood cells.

Luckily medical professionals are trained on how to mix medications and if you use it at home for outpatient use, most medications will clearly label which water to use for injection. Irrigation use of sterile water includes washing, rinsing, and dilution. It is very important to note that there are separate formulations of irrigation and injections and they are not interchangeable.

Always double check which formulation you have and which formulation you need for use. Lastly since sterile water is microbial free in nature, exposure to body, surroundings, and other factors can easily contaminate the sample. Sterile water is meant as a one time use and bottles should not be stored away once opened. 

Sterile Water Use In Home Settings

Sterile water can be used for different tasks at home. It is crucial to know which is appropriate since sterile water is costly and sometimes not freely available. Patients with sinus problems like to use the neti pot to treat symptoms without medicine. The neti pot is a system in which water is inserted in one nostril via a specialized pot or bottle and flushed throughout the sinuses and out the other nostril.

This method is in close proximity to the brain and major blood vessels which can pose as a huge contamination and infection point. Many patients mix the neti pot saline packets with sterile water to provide a microbial-free saline solution to rinse.

New Trend Of Treating Pregnancy Back Pain With Sterile Water

One of the many pangs of pregnancy is lower back pain. Due to the nature of drugs penetrating into the baby, most medicine for pain is forbidden. Recently, healthcare providers have been giving sterile water injections to ease the lower back pains of pregnant patients.

The technique concerns 4 strategically placed injection sites and injecting very small amounts, approximately 0.1 milliliter, in each site. Patients are finding noticeable pain reduction and comfort taking this medicine-less approach with sterile water. As all approaches, always let trained professionals dictate and guide this process and never ask friends or family to perform such procedures.

Key Points of Sterile Water and Closing

Learning about sterile water can answer many questions as well as introduce new ones. You may find yourself asking if there is a homemade remedy to obtaining sterile water. Many resources online can detail methods on stovetop boiling, microwave, and even pressure cooker distilling of water. This may provide a very clean source of water but without proper precautions and testings, you cannot deem it as sterile water.

Another common question is the ability to drink sterile water. In short, you can drink sterile water although it is not preferred. Not only is it costly and bland to taste, but it also has no electrolytes to truly quench your thirst. Drinking excess amounts can cause pH changes and electrolyte imbalances which lead to more serious bodily dangers. Knowledge of sterile water and its uses should help ease the burden of patient care and provide a cost-efficient, optimum method of medicine use and treatment.