28 March 2012

Gin and tonic - I mean, HYPER tonic Saline

Bennett has added a new inhaled medication to his daily regimen.  It's called Hypertonic Saline.  It is one of three inhaled medications he takes daily for healthy lung hygiene.  Hypertonic Saline is breathed in for about 10 minutes once daily during Bennett's chest percussion therapy (aka during his Vest).

Hypertonic Saline is basically salt water in a tiny vial.  This medication was discovered when it became apparent that Cystic Fibrosis sufferers who surf in salty ocean water do better health-wise than their counterparts who do not surf.  Researchers believe that inhaling the salt from the ocean has significant respiratory benefits.  A study later confirmed these findings.  Since this study, Hypertonic Saline has become part of the regular care of those with CF.

We open each vial for use by twisting off their top and squirting it in the nebulizer.  (The compressor is what is in the background of this picture.  The nebulizer is what is connected to Bennett's mask and ultimately what Bennett breathes through.)

Bennett is so very patient during this medication.  It's easy to imagine what it's like to have to breathe salt into your lungs.  If I sit close enough to him, I can breathe it in too.  It can be very irritating to the lungs and causes coughing.  Coughing is very important to those with CF because it helps move that nasty sticky mucus around and out of the lungs.

Shaking tubes.

This piece of equipment (Bennett's Vest) gets used 20 minutes per day.

Bennett sits so quietly during his vest treatment.  He enjoys watching TV during this time.  He prefers to watch Superman, if Daddy is around and will watch it with him (aka if he will navigate around the inappropriate parts).

Smoky vapors = hypertonic saline.  Hypertonic saline can cause a sore throat because it irritates the esophagus tissue.  I would hate to have to do this every day.  What a champ he is!

The crazy thing about Cystic Fibrosis is how much salt is involved with this disease.  Salt is the underlying issue for why the body has such problems.  "In cystic fibrosis, the salt balance in the body is disturbed. Because there is too little salt and water on the outside of the cells, the thin layer of mucus that helps keep the lungs free of germs becomes very thick and difficult to move. And because it is so hard to cough out, this mucus clogs the airways and leads to infections that damage the lungs."  It is obvious why salt is now part of the treatment to relieve symptoms of this disease.  


  1. I love that fact about the surfers! How cool is that?!

  2. breck -- so i assume the hypertonic saline more concentrated than your typical "surf"? always nice to hear when these connections are made between certain population groups and the effect of their particular activities. and i, too, love knowing there are CF surfers out there. hang ten! (um, or whatever it is actual surfers say) :-)


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