IV therapy is a delivery method for fluids and medication. “IV” stands for intravenous, which means it’s administered through the veins. The fluid that contains vitamins and minerals or medication is delivered via an IV drip or injection into the vein, which allows the therapy to move quickly through your bloodstream.
IV therapies are administered by a healthcare professional, usually a nurse, for a variety of different reasons, from dehydration to medical emergencies. IV therapy can also help address symptoms related to conditions like the cold, the flu, morning sickness and hangovers. In this guide, we’ll discuss how IV therapy works, what its benefits are and how you can get started.
How Does IV Therapy Work?
IV therapy is a straightforward procedure. Regardless of the type of IV therapy you are receiving, you can expect the process to be pretty uniform. The nurse administering the therapy will talk you through the procedure. Generally, you will be seated somewhere comfortable for the duration of the therapy. The nurse will disinfect the injection site and place a needle directly in a vein. The IV will typically be placed in the arm, but it is possible to be placed elsewhere.
Once the IV is inserted, the nurse will check the pump to ensure the rate of delivery is correct. IV therapy can be delivered via a manual pump or an electronic pump. The fluid drips through the catheter and enters your body. Once inside your body, the fluid from the IV bag is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This method typically delivers medication faster than oral administration. During IV therapy, you need to keep still, so you do not disturb or dislodge the catheter. Aside from that, you can read, watch television or browse on your phone during the process.
What Fluids and Vitamins Are in an IV Bag?
The fluids inside an IV bag depend on the type of therapy you are undergoing. Intravenous solutions can contain saline, vitamins, minerals and medication. Some common components of IV bags include:
- Saline: Saline solution is usually the base ingredient of an IV bag. Saline, made up of water and sodium chloride, serves as a delivery system for the other components of your IV therapy. Saline also serves as a way to help hydrate the body.
- Dextrose: Your IV bag may contain dextrose, which is a type of sugar. Unlike some of your favorite sweet desserts, this kind of sugar is good for you. Dextrose can be used in IV therapy to help normalize low levels of blood sugar. As a sugar, your body can also convert dextrose into energy.
- Lactated Ringer’s: If you are a fan of medical dramas, you have almost certainly heard the term “Lactated Ringer’s.” This IV solution contains water, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium chloride and sodium lactate. Like saline solution, Lactated Ringer’s can be used as a delivery system for other ingredients. It is also commonly used during surgery and to treat dehydration.
- Vitamin B: Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, B-9 and B-12 are collectively known as vitamin B complex. Vitamin B complex is an important element of a healthy diet because it directly contributes to important bodily functions, like your metabolism and nerve function. Vitamin B complex is often delivered via IV therapy for patients who have trouble naturally absorbing vitamins.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C, another common IV vitamin, is important for a healthy immune system function. If you are sick or feel like you are becoming sick, vitamin C can be a beneficial ingredient in your IV therapy.
- Calcium: Your IV therapy may include calcium, which is a mineral that we need to stay healthy. It helps build strong bones and teeth. We consume calcium in our diet through foods like dairy and green, leafy vegetables.
- Magnesium: Magnesium, another important mineral, plays a role in healthy metabolic function. It has a number of benefits, including reducing inflammation, combating leg cramps in pregnant women and even helping to prevent migraines.
- Antioxidants: Many foods are touted for their high levels of antioxidants, which help protect your body’s cells from a number of different diseases. Your IV therapy may include different types of antioxidants, such as glutathione, or vitamins A, C or E.
- Antibiotics: In cases of infection, the patient will likely receive antibiotics via an IV bag.
The Benefits of IV Therapy
IV therapy can be beneficial for many different people for different reasons. Two of the main benefits for anyone who wants to try IV therapy include:
- Easy and convenient: If you are feeling unwell, you probably don’t want to head to the hospital or your doctor’s office unless necessary. For many common symptoms, IV therapy is an easy and convenient option. IV therapy is not a complicated procedure. You don’t even have to leave your own home to undergo IV therapy. Concierge services, like Mobile IV Medics, come to you. The price of the therapy includes your in-home therapy and our travel. Pick a comfortable spot, and we will do the rest. The insertion of the IV is relatively painless, just a small pinch. After it is inserted, you should feel very little discomfort. The IV drip will do its job while you watch TV, read or work on your device.
- Health and wellness: For the most part, IV therapy is used to promote health and wellness. The infusion of fluids, vitamins and minerals can help support a healthy immune system, promote healthy skin and keep you hydrated. The right balance of vitamins and minerals in the body can also help improve your energy levels.
Common Uses of Intravenous Therapy
So, what is IV therapy used for? Generally, the main types of IV therapy are:
- Hangover relief: After overindulging during a night out, you might wake up feeling awful. A dry mouth, pounding headache, upset digestive system and desire to keep the shades drawn are all telltale signs of a hangover. A bad hangover can make it hard to concentrate and ruin your entire day. Chugging a glass of water or a cup of coffee with an over-the-counter pain killer and going back to bed is usually the go-to hangover remedy, but IV therapy can also be a helpful way to find relief. A hangover IV therapy includes fluids to help rehydrate the body, vitamins to help improve your energy levels and medication to reduce the painful symptoms of nausea, heartburn and headache.
- Athletic performance recovery: After an intense workout, your body can be left feeling drained and sore. Whether you have run a marathon or hit the gym for a lifting session, you can be left feeling in need of a boost. IV therapy can be used to help athletes recover following periods of exertion. Recovery IV drip therapy includes a number of different components designed to support athletes during the recovery period. Fluids help rehydrate you, while vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids help improve your energy levels and repair any tissue damage.
- Immune system support: The immune system fights off infection and keeps the body healthy, but we can still get sick. Whether you are worried about getting sick — especially during cold and flu season — or you’ve caught a bug, IV therapy can help support your immune system. IV therapy for immune system support includes a number of vitamins and minerals to naturally boost the immune system and reduce the chances of you catching a bug.
- Cold and flu relief: If you find yourself being knocked down by the symptoms of the cold or flu, IV therapy can offer you some relief. A cold and flu IV drip helps keep you hydrated. It also had vitamins and minerals to help your immune system do its job and kick the bug. Plus, anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea medications help to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of the cold and flu, such as coughing, body aches, headache and fever.
- Pregnancy symptom alleviation: The body undergoes tremendous stress and changes during pregnancy. Morning sickness is a common experience among pregnant women. Morning sickness can be frustrating when you are trying to focus on your health and the health of your growing baby. Triggered by different environmental factors, such as smell, morning sickness causes an upset stomach and vomiting. While these symptoms typically subside as the pregnancy progresses, they can be uncomfortable and disruptive to your daily life. IV therapy for morning sickness is designed to help pregnant women stay hydrated and reduce the unpleasant effects of morning sickness. This IV therapy includes fluids for hydration, as well as vitamins and medication to help manage nausea and vomiting.
- Migraine and headache relief: The pain caused by migraines and headaches can be debilitating. The exact cause of these conditions isn’t always known, but common triggers include stress, diet, environment and certain medications. We can learn our triggers and try to avoid them, but migraines and headaches can still sneak up on us. If you are looking for relief, IV therapy for migraines and headaches includes vitamins and medication to help reduce inflammation and mitigate your painful symptoms. If you experience nausea with your migraines, the IV therapy package can include anti-nausea medication.
How Long Does IV Therapy Take and How Long Do the Effects Last?
IV therapy drips amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fluids at a controlled rate. Once you are connected to the IV, which is usually a quick and simple process, the duration of the therapy will depend on why you are undergoing IV therapy. This process can take longer, but will typically require 45 minutes to an hour of your time. Some IV therapies can be done relatively quickly, while others will take longer.
How quickly will you feel the effects of the IV drip? Again, the answer depends on why you are undergoing IV therapy. In some cases, you may feel the effects almost immediately. In other cases, it may take more time. The effects can last for up to a few days after completing the procedure, depending on a number of different factors.
Where to Get an IV
IV therapy is provided in a number of different settings, including:
- Hospitals: Many patients at hospitals undergo some type of IV therapy, typically in addition to some other kind of treatment. People treated with IV therapy at a hospital are either there for an emergency or as an inpatient.
- Urgent care centers: Urgent care centers can handle some more minor emergencies. For example, if you need stitches, you may opt to go to an urgent care center instead of a hospital emergency room. Urgent care centers are typically less expensive than hospitals. Depending on the reason for your visit, you may receive IV therapy at an urgent care center.
- Medical spas: Medical spas, commonly referred to as med spas, offer a wide array of treatments to choose from, ranging from traditional spa options like a massage to medical treatments like IV therapy. As a mix between a spa and a medical clinic, the staff is also a mix of non-healthcare and healthcare professionals. If you undergo an IV drip, a healthcare professional should administer the treatment.
- IV bars: IV bars, sometimes called IV lounges, are designed to offer different IV therapies. These locations are sometimes in a fixed location, while others operate as mobile units.
- At home: Concierge services, like Mobile IV Medics, come to you. Instead of traveling to another location, you can undergo IV therapy in the comfort of your own home. If you are located in Southern California, we likely service your area.
What Does It Cost?
IV therapy ranges in cost, depending on the type of therapy and the provider. IV therapy is not typically covered by insurance, which means patients are responsible for the cost. At Mobile IV Clinics, our packages start at $159 (the hydration package), but we have other packages targeted for specific symptoms such as a migraine or hangover.
The cost of each of our packages covers the IV drip, the registered nurse and our travel. You can also opt to customize an IV therapy for your specific symptoms. When you decide to customize your therapy, each vitamin and nutrient costs $29. We also offer discounts for large groups of patients. The cost of our IV therapy options is comparable to what a patient would owe for an emergency room visit co-pay.
If IV therapy sounds like a good fit for you, we are here to provide our concierge services. Mobile IV Medics serve cities across Southern California. Our trained team of nurses will come to your home or office to deliver IV therapy for individuals and groups. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can help, or book your IV therapy online.