Intravenous Fluid Infusion Therapy: What You Need to Know

Intravenous Therapy

Miss K had just been posted to the southern part of the country, for her NYSC. On her way she was involved in a car accident and was bleeding. On arrival at the hospital, no blood was available but several pints of intravenous fluid infusions containing salt solution were pumped into her and she survived.

Introduction: What is Intravenous Therapy

Intravenous therapy or Drip is the infusion of liquid substances directly into a vein. This route of administration requires sterile specialized equipment and should only be performed in a medical setting by a trained professional. Intravenous fluid replacement works quickly, by going directly into the bloodstream.

Compared with other routes of administration, the intravenous route is the fastest way to deliver fluids and medications throughout the body.

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Intravenous Therapy
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Uses

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 (the treatment for any kind of cancer.)

Indications

Apart from the situation earlier mentioned IV infusions are needed if you become dehydrated. This may occur if you do not drink enough fluids or due to a sudden loss of fluids and electrolytes in your body, due to severe diarrhoea or vomiting and a high fever.

Things Given in an Intravenous Fluid

Substances that may be infused intravenously include volume expanders, blood-based products, blood substitutes, medications, and nutrition.

Precautions While Taking Intravenous Therapy

Some particular IV infusions are dangerous when given to some categories of people. To these people, they can cause kidney or heart failure. Also, salt solutions are not good for hypertensives just as some drips contain sugar solutions called dextrose and shouldn’t be given to diabetics with high blood sugar.

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Side Effects of Intravenous Therapy

The most common side effect is an infection of the IV sites, which are characterized by swelling, redness, and fever. Report this to a doctor for proper management. Others include fluid overload, imbalance of sodium and potassium.

Intravenous therapy shouldn’t be done at home or performed by a nurse that resides in your area. If your doctor thinks you need to collect a drip, he would prescribe it and the procedure would be done in a hospital or clinic. Your doctor would ensure proper management.

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