IV infusion is a way of administering vitamins, medication, even additional hydration to an individual. “IV” stands for “intravenous”, which is the method of administration. The medication is often mixed with a fluid and is delivered to the patient at a measured rate, directly into their bloodstream.
IV infusions are used for a variety of reasons, from treating medical emergencies to simple dehydration. In many situations, IV infusions can also help reduce or even eliminate some of the symptoms associated with cold & flu, morning sickness, and even hydration. There are many benefits to IV infusions, even for those who aren’t sick.
Benefits Of IV Infusion
There are significant benefits to an IV infusion over other methods of medication or hydration administration. It is fast-acting and contributes to overall health and wellness. It is also able to deliver nutrients at a far higher rate of absorption than taking conventional vitamins or supplements.
Due in no small part to the direct administration and accessible form of the infusion, the various vitamins, nutrients, or medication in the IV solution are delivered in their most potent form to the location where they will do the most good. Bypassing the digestive process ensures more of the nutrients hit the system, faster.
IV infusions are so effective at restoration and recovery assistance, that they can even be used to augment the natural recovery process after an intense athletic performance, training, or injury. The components can be adjusted to include ample vitamins, minerals, and amino acids for the reconstruction and addition of lean muscle tissue.
The benefits of IV infusions as a restorative tonic also make it one of the most effective hangover remedies. Having a few too many on Saturday night doesn’t have to completely ruin your Sunday. The hydration and electrolyte replacement speed of an IV infusion mean that even if you over-indulged last night, you’ll be ready for a mimosa at brunch
For those that have difficulty absorbing nutrients through traditional methods, IV infusion can be a great way to make sure there are no nutritional deficiencies. Essential vitamins and minerals can be delivered to the body in moments in a very simple process.
The process begins with the licensed and certified nurse cleaning and sterilizing the injection site. Then a small catheter into the vein, usually in the arm, with the help of a special needle. Once the catheter is successfully placed the needle is removed.
The other end of the catheter has a fitting to allow it to attach to an IV drip line. This makes sure that a measured quantity of the IV solution is entering the body at a time, to help control dosage. Once the process is complete, the IV bag is disconnected and the catheter is gently removed.
How Long Does It Take To Receive An Infusion?
While every individual’s body is different, the standard IV infusion process takes less than 60 minutes in most cases. This includes an initial setup period, often just a few minutes, followed by the healthcare professional. Once the patient is ready and the IV is running, it often finishes in about half an hour.
What Is In An IV?
Some countless medications and compounds can be included, depending on what sort of treatment the individual is having. The most common components will be saline solutions with the needed medications or vitamins already added. The most common ingredients will include:
- Saline - Saline is a medical-grade hydration solution and consists of just water and sodium chloride. Since it is so readily accessible to the body and is hypoallergenic, saline is the perfect vehicle to help deliver any needed vitamins, medications, or nutrients directly to the bloodstream. One of the biggest causes behind hangovers is the dehydrated state of the body, which a saline IV infusion can help fix in minutes.
- Dextrose - Depending on the medicinal and nutritional requirements of the patient, the IV infusion may contain dextrose as an ingredient, which is a type of sugar. Dextrose is used in IV infusions that need a substance to help modulate low blood sugar levels. Dextrose does this, and it can be used by the body as a source of energy.
- Vitamin B Complex - The collection of B vitamins, called Vitamin B Complex, is made up of Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12. Vitamin B Complex is often obtained in sufficient quantities from the diet, but when there's a deficiency of any one of the B vitamins, some of the most important processes in the body, such as metabolism and nerve functions can suffer. This is often a component in IV infusions for people that have problems absorbing vitamins through digestion.
- Vitamin C - Vitamin C is essential for healthy immune system response and function. Vitamin C can be taken in incredibly large doses for those that are feeling under the weather, or that feel they may potentially become sick. Including vitamin C in the IV infusion can help supercharge the immune system to fight off infection.
- Magnesium & Other Electrolytes - Electrolytes are mineral salts that are crucial to the normal, healthy operation of many of the body’s processes. Electrolytes help manage heart function, blood pressure, relieve and prevent cramping, and can help to prevent migraines when present in sufficient quantities and balanced ratios. A robust electrolyte content in an IV infusion will help the patient to feel their best as well as to recover from injury.
- Antibiotics - In the case of medical emergencies, large doses of antibiotics can be administered by IV infusion so that they can be immediately effective. Using IV administration is also often the only practical way of getting large quantities of antibiotics administered over a period of time.
Is An IV Safe?
Getting an IV is incredibly safe and is a procedure with hundreds of years of medical training behind it. The procedure is simple and relatively non-invasive, and any inherent risks of infection or injury are minimized when a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or similar healthcare professional performs the IV infusion.
Side Effects Of IV Therapy
IV infusion therapy is very gentle and produces very minimal side effects. There is a small risk of an individual experiencing itching or other general discomfort at the injection site, particularly in the period immediately following the procedure.
There is also the potential for slight to moderate bruising at or around the location of the IV. This bruising may or may not also be accompanied by redness, inflammation, or a general minor soreness near the injection.
While it is possible to have an allergic reaction to one or more of the IV components, it is incredibly rare. This risk is also lowered by having the infusion performed by qualified medical personnel.
How Often Should One Get An IV Infusion?
The general guideline is to get 1 to 2 IV infusions per month, so an infusion about once every 2 to 4 weeks. If you find yourself feeling under the weather, however, you can always get one sooner than your next appointment. One of the good things about IV infusions is that they can be enjoyed with relative frequency, with few ill effects.