Should I get an IV?

People ask me all the time, “Hey Doc, should I get an IV every week?

The short answer is, “No, you should not get an IV every week.”

Will frequent IVs make me feel better?” “Yes.” But the key to feeling good is not the IV. One of the many keys to feeling good is proper hydration. We can maintain proper hydration on our own if we’re willing and able to do so. This is usually a maintenance thing and it involves more than just drinking water. If we’re acutely ill or otherwise unable to hydrate properly, however, there can be tremendous benefit to IV Therapy.

I’ve been administering IVs since the mid 90s. Back then, I was working on the ambulance through my pre-med studies in college. All ambulance patients got an IV and most got fluids. Some of my patients felt better by the time we delivered them to the ER. Fast forward 10 years when I became the doctor in the ER. There, too, a majority of my patients got a liter of fluids unless they had a reason not to. What I realized over the years is that most people are dehydrated, especially if they’re sick enough to come to the ER. And the state of being dehydrated makes all symptoms feel worse, whatever they may be: headache, stomach ache, muscle ache, nausea, hangover, sore throat, flu … even depression and anxiety. You name it. If we’re sick and dehydrated, symptoms take a lot longer to resolve until the dehydration is addressed.

That’s why I, and my staff at NOLA Doc, administer IV Therapy to people when they’re not feeling well. When appropriate, IV fluids make our patients feel better much faster than the alternative. Rehydrating oneself after an illness can often takes days. Instead of letting people trudge down the road to recovery, we run fluids within an hour and most people are feeling better before we leave their home or hotel.

Now back to the original question. Should I get an IV every week? The answer is still “no.” Believe it or not, IV Therapy, although it seems pretty innocuous, is a medical procedure and like any procedure, it comes with risk. The risk is low, but it increases with each infusion. It’s important to receive IV infusions from properly trained medical professionals with appropriate oversight and medical direction.

In general, proper oral hydration (and proper nutrition) each day will keep most people feeling energetic and sharp and help keep our immune systems in good working order. If we’re feeling unwell, however, and unable to do so in a timely fashion, that’s when I recommend IV Fluids.

Check back next time for a few words on what Dr. Mark has to say about “proper oral hydration.” Until then, remember … health is wealth.

Mark Berenson, MD

IV Therapy with NOLA Doc