IV Fluids and Antibiotics
What are IV Fluids and Antibiotics?
Intravenous therapy (IV) delivers substances directly to the veins, which are often regulated as “drips” so as to control dosage when drugs such as antibiotics are used. Saline is the most common solution used in IV fluid therapy.
What are IV Fluids and Antibiotics Used for?
While treatment with IV fluids can vary significantly from case to case, it’s most commonly used to address symptoms of dehydration when oral rehydration is not possible. Dehydration occurs when fluids are lost at a rate behind which they can be replaced, such as with vomiting, diarrhea or excessive sweating. Gastrointestinal illnesses and viruses such as the flu can result in dehydration.
Antibiotics can also be delivered via IV and are often employed when oral antibiotics are not enough to treat a significant bacterial infection.
Who Needs IV Fluids or Antibiotics?
In cases where oral rehydration has failed, patients may benefit from IV rehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dry Mouth
- Excessive Thirst
- Decreased Urination
- Muscle Weakness
For those who have been diagnosed with a bacterial infection, IV antibiotics may be looked at as a possible course of action for treatment. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses such as the flu or common cold, and intravenous antibiotics are typically reserved for moderate to severe bacterial infections.
IV Fluids: What to Expect
With typical IV fluid treatment, an area of the skin (usually on the arm) is disinfected before an IV catheter is inserted into the vein. Catheter insertion can sting, but it should not be painful past the initial few seconds. From there, fluids are delivered via the IV at a set rate of flow, and the equipment is regularly checked for proper functionality throughout the procedure.
While intravenous antibiotic therapy can require longer lengths of time, IV rehydration typically takes an hour or less for the patient to begin feeling better.
Physiologic differences between children and adults can most certainly play a role in IV fluid therapy. The changes that occur as a child grows can affect fluid requirements, which means special attention must be given to pediatric fluid therapy.