IV Drips: What are They and How Do They Work

IV Drips: What are They and How Do They Work

Most of us are familiar with IVs. If you or a loved one has ever been in the hospital, you probably had first-hand experience with them. You would have noticed the metal stand with a bag attached to it, transferring some kind of liquid into the patient’s body. But few people actually know what exactly an IV is and how it works. 

What are Intravenous Fluids?

Intravenous – or IV, for short – refers to the administration of specially formulated liquids into the body through a vein or veins. These essential fluids are distributed from a drip bag.

Importance of Intravenous Fluids

IV Drips are a staple in hospitals and other healthcare facilities for the following reasons:


The body must stay hydrated so that it can promote wound healing, immunity, concentration and digestion. IV fluids prevent or treat dehydration and electrolyte imbalances caused by sweating, vomiting, and frequent urination. They are also essential for patients who have to sleep for a long time or are unable to eat or drink following surgery.

Pain Medication

Another added benefit is that IV drips allow for medication to reach the bloodstream much quicker, relieving the patient’s pain much faster than taking a pill. The healthcare professional will of course take into account the patient’s medication, body size and age before administering the medication in this way.

Common Types of IV Fluids

The type of fluids used will be determined by your medical condition and the type of treatment you need. Some common components of IV bags include:

  • Saline – This is a solution of salt in water and is the most common type of intravenous fluid. Sodium is an electrolyte, making the saline solution an excellent choice for dehydration and hangovers. 
  • Vitamins – These are included in IV drips because they give us a boost of energy, strengthen our immune systems, and so much more.
  • Electrolytes. These essential elements and compounds refuel our bodies with sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride and phosphate. These in turn hydrate us, regulate our nerve and muscle function, stabilize our blood pressure, and more. 

How do IV Drips Work?

Before the nurse administers the IV fluids, your doctor will decide on the type of fluid that is best suited for you. The nurse will then:

  • Disinfect the area that will be injected. This is usually the inside of the elbow or on top of the hand.
  • Tie an elastic band (tourniquet) around your arm so that blood fills the veins
  • Assess the veins to find the exact spot for injection
  • Use a sterile needle to enter the vein
  • Release the tourniquet and place a small plastic attachment onto the tube
  • Examine the tube to make sure a little bit of fluid can go in.
  • Fasten the IV needle to your arm with tape so that it stays in place
  • Attach the small tube to a longer tube, and then attach it to a bag of fluids
  • Hang the bag from a hook on the IV stand
  • Turn on a machine that pumps the fluid into the IV line
  • Frequently check your IV line and monitor the amount of fluid entering your body

IV Therapy in Cincinnati, OHIO

Quality Life Services Home Health (QLS) offers specialty services that include intravenous (IV) therapy for home health patients. We employ highly qualified and compassionate private nurses who are specially trained in infusion drug administration and line maintenance. 

We proudly serve patients in the counties of Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Montgomery, Preble and Warren. If you or a loved one is in need of home health care you may reach us at (513) 860-1481. Contact us today.

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