sterile or tap water for meds?

  1. When giving meds through a NG tube, peg tube, DHT, whatever....do you use sterile water or tap water?
    I have always used tap water until I started a new job where they use sterile water. This is strange to me. I was told tap water has contaminants that aren't good for our already at risk patients. Is this true?

    I drink tap water. Do hospitals have a special kind of tap water that isn't drinkable?? I've never known anyone to drink sterile water, I can't remember why it's bad for you, but it is right?

    Thanks
  2. Visit wanderlust99 profile page

    About wanderlust99, BSN

    Joined: May '08; Posts: 802; Likes: 951
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in ICU/PACU

    14 Comments

  3. by   dcredo
    Interesting...I have never thought of the stomach as a sterile area, so it is confusing that they would use sterile water to flush.. But to answer your question in the ICU where I work all of us crush our meds and use warm TAP water (to help dissolve the meds) ...hope this helps
  4. by   pH7.40
    Our nations tap water is regularly screened for the acceptable limits of toxins and bacteria. Tap water should be acceptable. The bottom line for you as a bedside nurse is to check your facilities policy and procedures and follow what your facility has decided.

    I would like you to ask the advocates of "sterile water" why is the water that is unacceptable for patients to drink, ie tap water, considered acceptable for the hospital staff nurses doctors and visitors to drink at water fountains and cafeteria.

    We need those flora and fauna to populate our gut!
  5. by   moonshadeau
    I would bet that this practice is one of those "sacred cows" that people don't like to kill. Unless there is some reason that people are not drinking the water in your area, there is no reason that sterile water should be used.
  6. by   Mommy_of_3_in_AL..RN
    I dont see why sterile water is preferred over tap, but in our facility this is how it goes..
    when giving meds through tube, we can dissolve them in the warm water that comes from the coffee maker (you know, the little part where you can hit the button and get hot water out). After giving the meds in this water, we flush with the sterile water...i know..it makes no sense..if i can give the meds with that water, why cant i flush with it???
  7. by   criticalHP
    Strange...tap water should be sufficient. The gut is not sterile.
  8. by   BabyLady
    Quote from neurorachel
    When giving meds through a NG tube, peg tube, DHT, whatever....do you use sterile water or tap water?
    I have always used tap water until I started a new job where they use sterile water. This is strange to me. I was told tap water has contaminants that aren't good for our already at risk patients. Is this true?

    I drink tap water. Do hospitals have a special kind of tap water that isn't drinkable?? I've never known anyone to drink sterile water, I can't remember why it's bad for you, but it is right?

    Thanks
    If the hospital water isn't drinkable....then all the ice and all of the food preparations are in big trouble.
  9. by   caliotter3
    I've always used tap water, after all most of us drink it. If sterile water is provided for me, then I use what is provided.
  10. by   AdobeRN
    I work in pedi, if I have a patient that has a tube I ask the parents prefrence...tap water or bottled water. The only time I use sterile water is if the bottled water is not available when I need it.
  11. by   GooeyRN
    I have always used tap water.
  12. by   geekgolightly
    My current hospital requires sterile water. I have worked at five other hospitals; none of which have required sterile water, so this is new for me.
  13. by   catshowlady
    I am 2 yrs out of NS, and we were taught that tap water is permitted, since the gut isn't sterile anyway. Warm (not hot!) water helps dissolve those crushed meds. However, my facility policy requires use of sterile water, so that is what I use.
  14. by   sugar plum
    I always use tap water.

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