What is intravenous rehydration?

Your doctor, or your child’s doctor, may prescribe intravenous (IV) rehydration to treat moderate to severe cases of dehydration. It’s more commonly used to treat children than adults. Children are more likely than adults to become dangerously dehydrated when they’re ill. Exercising vigorously without drinking enough fluids can also lead to dehydration.

During IV rehydration, fluids will be injected in your child’s body through an IV line. Different fluids may be used, depending on the situation. Usually, they will consist of water with a little bit of salt or sugar added.

IV rehydration involves a few small risks. They’re generally outweighed by the benefits, especially since severe dehydration can be life-threatening if left untreated.

What is the purpose of IV rehydration?

When your child becomes dehydrated, they lose fluids from their body. These fluids contain water and dissolved salts, called electrolytes. To treat mild cases of dehydration, encourage your child to drink water and fluids that contain electrolytes, such as sports drinks or over-the-counter rehydration solutions. To treat moderate to severe cases of dehydration, oral rehydration may not be enough. Your child’s doctor or emergency medical staff may recommend IV rehydration.

Children often become dehydrated from being sick. For example, vomiting, having diarrhea, and developing a fever can raise your child’s risk of becoming dehydrated. They’re more likely to experience severe dehydration than adults. They’re also more likely to need IV rehydration to restore their fluid balance.

Adults can also become dehydrated. For example, you may experience dehydration when you’re sick. You can also become dehydrated after exercising vigorously without drinking enough fluids. Adults are less likely to need IV rehydration than children, but your doctor may prescribe it in some cases.

If you suspect you or your child is moderately to severely dehydrated, seek medical attention. Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • reduced urine output
  • dry lips and tongue
  • dry eyes
  • dry wrinkled skin
  • rapid breathing
  • cool and blotchy feet and hands

Article cited from HealthLine.com

Ellis, Mary. “Intravenous Rehydration | Definition and Patient Education.” Healthline, 17 Sept. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/intravenous-rehydration.