Advice on saline nebules please

I use saline through a nebuliser several times a day to help clear mucus, every time I do I feel short of breath and I am not finding that a lot of mucus is coming up.I find I am making my chest sore and my ribs through trying to cough it up.I use the usual huffing breathing technique to try and loosen it also but never get much results.Can anyone advise me wether the saline should make me breathless and any other ideas for clearing mucus.Thanks for your time.

19 Replies

  • No idea about saline as Pete doesn't use that but he has Mucodyne in tablet form and Mucoclear via the nebuliser. Hope that helps Sjm. Speak to your GP maybe. Xxxx

  • Thanks Sassy I will do and thanks for replying.x

  • I would check with your GP or nurse.....but I find I get a tight chest when I use my saline nebules now, it didn't used to happen.

    I can tolerate a warm shower and that helps me cough up stuff, but steam can make some people breathless. I have used Mucodyne in the past.

  • Thank you I will ask my gp about mucodyne, I also feel tightness when I use saline but just like you I used to find it helpful.All the best

  • What percentage saline are you taking SJM ? As you say you're nebulising it several times a day, I'm wondering is it the 0.9% nebule ? In my experience, that % doesn't give any side effects but doesn't help much either.

    The higher doses of 7 or 9% hypertonic can be very irritating to the lungs. I took 9% for a few weeks and grew steadily more breathless. Eventually, it was decided to stop it as apparently it's not suited for some people. I have asthma and Bronchiectasis and while the saline initially helped to bring up mucous, it also caused a lot of bronchospasm. So if you feel it's not helping, Sjm, then you should certainly tell the doctor that prescribed it. There's really no point in taking meds that are making you feel worse.

  • Thanks Billiejean, it's the 0.9 one I'm taking, I appreciate the information and I will definitely talk to my gp about it as not getting anywhere with what I'm taking.Thanks for taking the time.

  • Exactly what happened to me with hypertonic but luckily in hospital with a senior physiotherapist. Had to stop.

  • If it's not working and making you more breathless best to speak to your GP about it.

    Carbocisteine, two three times a day thins it down and makes it easier to cough up. So does cold water 💦.

    The Active Cycle of breathing and Autogenic drainage are both breathing then cough methods which are very good. Have a look on You tube.

    Then there are things like the Flutter device, but I've never used one!

    Plenty out there - sorry! have got to go 🙂 x

  • 0.9% is isotonic saline, which means it is the same salt content as all bodily fluids.

    Hypertonic is a higher strength saline, which works by osmosis. It comes in 3 strengths 3%, 6% and 7% and you would have to have an assessment at the hospital, thereafter it would br prescribed by your GP. MucoClear comes in 3% and 6% and Nebusal in 7%.

    Hopefully your GP will have some alternative medication for you.

    love cx

  • Thanks cofdrop that's very helpful, I am definitely going to have a chat to my gp about it as getting to the stage where I don't want to use the saline at all.Thanks for taking the time to reply.All the best.x

  • Good idea to try the carbocisteine (Mucodyne), although it doesn't work for everyone, and didn't for me. Shame you can't tolerate .9% saline, as cofdrop says, that's the same as our body's cells. Of course we don't normally breathe it in do we?! Have you tried using your bronchodilator a couple of times before you start nebbing? I get on well with 7%, it made me quite breathless to start with but I've got used to it. You could try nebbing sterile water, which is also available in little plastic vials like the saline. Not sure it would benefit you enough to warrant the nebbing time though, and the GP might be unwilling to prescribe it. It's only water but it's not cheap. I hope you find a solution as there's nothing worse than thick, sticky mucus clogging up your chest.

  • That was a nice response Hanne, and no ive not tried using my inhaler before nebs but I'm going to now it never even occurred to me to try that.I will have to talk to gp about stronger saline or sterile water also as at this point I will try anything.Thanks for your time.All the best.x

  • Good plan Hanne to use bronchodilator first. I always neb bronchidilator before hypertonic. I think it is a must for those of us who have asthma along with our bronch.

  • Hi, I use saline nebs but not regularly only when I have chest infection normally or like you cant get the mucous up after trying everything , why don't try a hot water with lemon , domeone suggest that to me a few weeks ago when i had a chest infection and i have one everyone morning still .

    I also take carbocystine tablets, if it persists I would see your doctor

    Take care

    Loraine x

  • Thanks Loraine I'm going to try the lemon and water in the morning, that also helps keep your body alkaline which I'm a big fan of at the moment but didn't think it would help mucus so I'm going to give it a try.Thanks for your advice it's appreciated.All the best.x

  • During one of my many Hospital visits I was tried for saline nebuliser and the nurse was shocked to discover it reduced my ability to breath by 23%. Salt helps a lot of us with COPD Emphysema but with me it a big NO NO! This includes salt pipes and salt lamps. I live by the sea but it would seem salt makes my breathing worse. I use sambutamol in the nebuliser only.

  • Thanks Hallentine that's interesting and good to know I'll need to check my sats next time I go to use the nebuliser just to see what happens.Thanks for replying.

  • Saline news make me very breathless but so do all news I have tried. Sorry not much help. Hope it improves.

  • Thank you Liz .

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