5 Reasons Why You May Need an IV


Have you ever wondered why everyone in the hospital has that needle-thing taped to the top of their hand?

If so, you’re asking about their IV (intravenous, “in the vein”) tube.

What is an IV?

An IV is a thin bendable tube that slides into a vein. It can be hooked up to tubing that carries fluid, medicine or blood.

Why are IVs So Common?

The intravenous route is the quickest way that medications and fluids can enter the body through the bloodstream. It allows nutrients to go straight into circulation so they can be used by the body almost immediately.

5 Times You May Need an IV

IVs are a critical asset to hospitals everywhere. Here are the 5 most common uses for IVs:

1. Dehydration 

Getting an IV for dehydration is the fastest and most efficient way to replace fluids your body. An IV is ideal if you have fainted or are experiencing symptoms of heat stroke. Typically, getting an IV is one of the first things a nurse will do after you have been admitted to the hospital to ensure you are hydrated.

2. Surgery 

Doctors use IV therapy during surgery to administer anesthesia, pain medications, antibiotics, blood and other vital fluids during inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures. 

3. Malnutrition or Nutrient Replacement 

If you do not meet your nutritional requirements through oral intake alone, whether that’s because of a gastrointestinal tract issue, severe Crohn’s disease or an eating disorder, you can get your daily nutritional requirements through an IV. 

4. Medication Administration 

IV administration is the preferred route for medications that may be to potent to be taken orally including many chemotherapy regimens, blood/blood product transfusions or antibiotic/antifungal therapies. 

5. Emergency Situations 

In an emergency, EMS professionals may administer IV therapy to combat dire conditions such as heart attack, stroke, trauma, excessive bleeding or loss of fluids, overdose, poisoning or Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction.)

How Does an IV Work?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, if you need IV fluids or medications a healthcare provider will:

  • Decide the type of IV fluid you need
  • Determine the amount of fluid you need and how quickly
    • Depends on many factors like weight, age and medical condition
  • Disinfect (clean) the skin where the IV will go
    •  Usually on the inside of the elbow or on top of the hand
  • Tie an elastic band (tourniquet) around your arm to make blood fill the veins
  • Examine the veins to find the exact insertion site
  • Slide a sterile needle into the vein
    • (The needle will have a small plastic tube at the other end)
  • Remove the tourniquet
  • Place a small plastic attachment onto the tube
  • Test the tube to make sure a little bit of fluid can go in
  • Tape the IV needle to your skin so 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 a tall stand
    • (Called an IV stand)
  • Turn on a machine that will pump the fluid into the IV line
  • Check your IV line regularly and monitor the amount of fluid entering your body

What Do I Do If I Have an IV?

If you find yourself in any of these situations, it’s important to remember that hospitals are well equipped and trained with IV supplies. The administration of intravenous fluids via IV infusion is common and very safe.

Be gentle using the area around the IV site and if you have any questions about your IV, ask your nurse!

Purchasing IV Supplies?

Emergency Medical Products offers a complete line of IV & Drug Delivery supplies at buyemp.com. Save on IV therapy supplies like syringes, needles, IV start kits, IV administration sets and much more.

Please note: proper licensing is required to purchase many of these items. A completed License Authorization Form signed by your medical director must be on file.

This blog is meant for educational purposes about medical products, medical devices, and related subjects only. It contains only general information about medical products. It is not meant to be medical or clinical advice and should not be treated as such. The information contained in this blog is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties. Emergency Medical Products, Inc. (“EMP”) makes no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of information, the products discussed, or advice given in connection with this blog. EMP is not a medical provider and is not engaged in providing medical or clinical advice. This blog may contain external links to EMP’s website where certain medical products and medical devices can be purchased from EMP.