Ways to keep secretions thin and loose
- Fill your bathtub with hot water. Sit in the steam-filled bathroom for 20 minutes.
- Put moist gauze over your tracheostomy tube. Hold the gauze in place by folding it over twill tape and then tie it around your neck.
- Stand in the shower with the water pointed away from your tracheostomy tube.
- Fill a spray bottle with new saline solution. Spray the saline solution into your tracheostomy tube a few times each day.
Saline solution is made with salt and water.
Get a container ready to store the saline solution
Wash it and the cap in hot, soapy water, or place the open container and cap in the dishwasher on its hottest and longest running cycle.
- Fill it with boiling water.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Do not touch the inside of the container or cap.
- Dump the water out.
- Fill it with the saline solution.
Making saline solution
- Boil a quart of water for 5 minutes.
- Add 1 1/2 teaspoons (tsp) of non-iodized salt to the water.
- Pour mixture into the clean container and cover with the cap.
- Let the saline solution cool to room temperature before using.
Throw away the saline solution after 24 hours because germs may grow.
Putting saline solution into your tracheostomy
Putting saline solution into your tracheostomy tube will make you cough up secretions. This will help you breathe better.
Supplies you will need
- Saline solution
- Clean cup
- Strong paper towel or gauze sponge
Do not use facial tissues.
Put saline solution into your tracheostomy tube
- Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of the saline solution into a clean cup.
- Draw up 2 to 3 milliliters (mL) of saline solution into a syringe.
- While taking a deep breath, put the saline solution into your tracheostomy tube.
- Cough while you cover your tracheostomy tube with a strong paper towel or gauze sponge.
- Repeat this until your airway is clear.
You may need to use suction if you cannot cough out your secretions.
Wash the cup and syringe with hot, soapy water each day. Rinse them well and let them air dry. Use the saline solution more often when your secretions are thick and dry.