By now, you’re likely aware of what an IV is, but do you know what is in IV fluids? At IV Revival, we’re very transparent with our products; what you order is exactly what you get and it’s mixed right in front of you. However, the IV bags themselves come pre-filled with fluid. You may think it’s just water, but that’s not entirely true. Today, we’re going to explain exactly what that fluid is, and what the different types of IV fluids are.
What is in IV Fluids?
An IV bag might look like a bag of water, but there’s typically a lot more than just. The exact contents will vary depending on your needs and where you get your IV, but it will always be some kind of saline solution that helps carry fluids, medication, and/or electrolytes directly into your bloodstream.
If you’re getting IV therapy, your IV fluid bag will also contain vitamins and minerals (that are chosen by you).
The 4 main types of IV fluids include:
- Normal Saline
- Half Normal Saline
- Lactated Ringers (what we use!)
The 4 Main Types of IV Fluids
1. Normal Saline
Saline is simply a mixture of salt and water. Normal saline solution contains 0.9 percent salt. It is a sterile solution most commonly used in hospitals during blood transfusions. It’s isotonic, meaning it’s just there to help the IV transfer what needs to be transferred.
It can be used for things like:
- Blood transfusion
- Fluid replacement for patients suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis
- Metabolic alkalosis
2. Half-Normal Saline
Half-normal saline is also sometimes called 45% normal saline or 0.45NaCl.
The main difference between half-normal saline and saline is that half-normal saline contains half the chloride concentration of normal saline.
It’s designed to treat cellular dehydration and can be used for things like:
- Raising your overall fluid volume
- Water replacement
- Sodium chloride depletion
- Gastric fluid loss
- DKA after normal saline and before dextrose infusions
3. Lactated Ringers
Lactated Ringer’s is an alternative to normal saline. This is what we use at IV Revival. It’s normal saline with the addition of electrolytes and lactate.
Out of the four IV fluids, this one is the most similar to your body’s natural plasma and serum concentration, which makes it easy for your body to absorb. It’s used to treat:
- Burn victims
- Fluid loss in the lower gastrointestinal tract
- Acute blood loss
- Replacement of fluid and pH buffers
Dextrose itself is a type of simple sugar made from corn and it has a number of uses in a medical setting.
There are three main versions of dextrose solutions:
- Dextrose in water
- Dextrose in saline
- Dextrose in Lactated Ringer’s
They’re all what they sound like too, which makes understanding them pretty easy.
Dextrose in Water
Dextrose in water is exactly that. It’s a solution that is specifically used to raise your total fluid volume, blood sugar, rehydrate you, and treat hypernatremia.
Dextrose in Saline
Dextrose in saline is a solution of 5% dextrose in normal saline. It is a highly specialized fluid that isn’t used very often. It can treat:
- Temporary treatment of circulatory insufficiency, but only if other plasma expanders are unavailable
- Hypotonic dehydration
- Addisonian crisis
- Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone/SIADH
Dextrose in Lactated Ringers
Dextrose in Lactated Ringer’s is a solution of 5% dextrose in Lactated Ringer’s. It serves much the same purpose as Lactated Ringer’s, with the addition of 180 calories per liter.
What is in IV Fluids — Recapped
As you can see, most IV fluids are a combination of water and salt, or water, salt, and sugar. It’s nothing that you wouldn’t put in your body during a regular meal! Want to know if all of this actually works to help you feel better? We have a blog all about that here.