when you’re in the hospital and considered to be dehydrated, what exactly is the whole process of IV fluids? What exactly is in a “fluids” bag and how does it help?


when you’re in the hospital and considered to be dehydrated, what exactly is the whole process of IV fluids? What exactly is in a “fluids” bag and how does it help?

In: Biology

If you’re dehydrated and receiving normal saline solution, literally all that you’re getting is distilled water with just enough sodium in it to make it *isotonic,* or matching the concentration of sodium in normal blood. Introducing this saline solution keeps your sodium balance in check, and keeps your cells supplied with water.

Other issues might need higher or lower concentrations of sodium, but for normal cases of dehydration, you’ll be getting normal saline.

Very likely it is mostly water with a few added salts (aka saline). It helps restore the body’s fluid balance. When you are dehydrated it typically results in lower than usual blood volume. This can lead to things like low blood pressure and lack of oxygen – which is very serious. Otherwise, it can also mess with levels of potassium etc which can affect the nervous system. Your body also relies on sweating to maintain body temperature so when dehydrated, your body might not be able to cool itself leading to high fever – which is not good for the brain

The contents of a IV fluids bag are similar to the parts of your blood. Your blood is actually a mixture of cells, proteins, electrolytes, hormones, immune system components and water. Bags are hung by RNs like me per the Doctor’s orders specific to your condition. Normal saline has .9% sodium chloride, same as a normal blood concentration. .225% and
.45% NaCl can also be ordered. Even just sterile water can be given, but rehydrating too quickly can damage your brain, so you and the labs drawn are closely watched to avoid problems for you. Other fluids given in the hospital are Ringers Solution with more of the minerals you carry in your blood. Sodium bicarbonate solution is given when someone is breathing poorly, has liver or kidney damage. Sometimes medications are also added to the IV fluids to give a small amount over a period of time. Ask me for more information about what you don’t understand.

There are 4 main types of IV fluids.

**2 versions are just salt and water.**
When there isn’t enough stuff in the water, the water tends to flow into the cells through a process called osmosis.
1 version has just enough salt so that this doesn’t happen.
The other version doesn’t have as much salt, causing the cells to take in water, but just enough salt so the cells don’t swell up and die from it.
If you’re just dehydrated the first one is probably the one they’ll give you.

**1 version is just sugar and water.**
There is just enough sugar in there so the whole cell swelling doesn’t happen.
The sugar is used as fuel for the cells. This is the kind they give if you were starving.

**The 4th is Hartmann’s solution.**
This one is salt, water, and a few other chemicals (sodium lactate, potassium chloride, and calcium chloride).
This one is a little more complicated. It’s used for trauma medicine.
If you get shot with a gun, this is likely the one the paramedics will give you to keep you alive.
When your kidneys stop working or you lose a lot of blood, your body has a tendency to make your blood more acidic, which is bad.
So the other stuff stops that from happening.

What you are getting is motivation to get back to pt!!

If a large bore needle won’t get you to stop being a sick call ranger, we just drop the bag and let it back flow for a minute. That usually fixed the problem. 😁