In medicine, saline (also saline solution) is a general phrase referring to a sterile solution of sodium chloride (NaCl, more commonly known as salt) in water, but is only sterile when it is to be placed parenterally (such as intravenously); otherwise, a saline solution is a salt water solution. The sterile solution is typically used for intravenous infusion, rinsing contact lenses, nasal irrigation, and often used to clean a new piercing. It is also a good medium to store an avulsed ("knocked out") tooth until it can be re-implanted by a dentist. Saline solutions are available in various formulations for different purposes. Salines are also used in cell biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry experiments.
Intravenous therapy (IV therapy or iv therapy in short) is the infusion of liquid substances directly into a vein. The word intravenous simply means "within vein." Therapies administered intravenously are often called specialty pharmaceuticals. It is commonly referred to as a drip because many systems of administration employ a drip chamber, which prevents air from entering the blood stream (air embolism), and allows an estimation of flow rate.
Intravenous therapy may be used to correct electrolyte imbalances, to deliver medications, for blood transfusion or as fluid replacement to correct, for example, dehydration. Intravenous therapy can also be used for chemotherapy.
A volume expander is a type of intravenous therapy that has the function of providing volume for the circulatory system. It may be used for fluid replacement.
An intravenous sugar solution is a solution with a sugar (usually glucose, a.k.a. dextrose, with water as the solvent) used for intravenous therapy, where it may function both as a means of maintaining tissue hydration and a means of parenteral nutrition.
Types of glucose/dextrose include: