IV hydration or fluid therapy is needed in cases when the patient is unable to take food, liquid, or medications as desired. Hydration therapy is a simple procedure in which fluids are administered into the bloodstream of a patient through an intravenous catheter (IV) inserted in to a vein, typically in the arm. IV hydration therapy includes the administration of vitamins, electrolytes, a combination of medications, and even antioxidants.
Types of IV fluids
There are mainly three types of IV fluids inserted into the bloodstream.
Isotonic solutions have a concentration (osmolality) of electrolytes to fluid that is the same as that of blood.
Isotonic fluids remain within the extracellular compartment and spread between intravascular (blood vessels) and interstitial (tissue) spaces thus increasing the intravascular volume. Isotonic solutions are mainly used to cure fluid volume deficit (dehydration).
A hypotonic solution has an osmolality of less than that of normal blood.
These solutions lower the serum osmolality within the vascular space by shifting the fluid outside of the blood into tissue and cell spaces. Hypotonic solutions are primarily used to treat conditions causing intracellular dehydration like hyperosmolar hyperglycemic states or ketoacidosis from diabetes.
When providing a hypotonic solution, close monitoring is required because this may worsen existing hypovolemia and hypotension causing cardiovascular collapse. Hypotonic solution infusions are provided in a hospital setting to ensure safety with administration.
Hypertonic solutions have an osmolality higher than that of normal blood.
Higher solute concentration causes the osmotic pressure gradient to withdraw water out of the cell spaces, thus increasing the extracellular volume. Hypertonic solutions are often used as volume expanders and are mainly used for hyponatremia conditions. These are also beneficial for patients with cerebral edema. Hypertonic solutions are used in high acuity areas and are used for a shorter duration to correct electrolyte abnormalities. Again, hypertonic solutions should only be given in a hospital setting under close monitoring.
IV hydration therapy can be used as a hangover cure for migraine, stress relief, dehydration, and to replenish electrolyte volume inside the body, especially in athletes. Others may use this therapy to rehydrate their body after a long illness or flight. People may prefer it in summers due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances from excessive sweating.
In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.
When to visit a doctor:
If you experience signs of serious dehydration, you should see a medical provider in order to avoid possible serious complications.
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