General Question

talljasperman's avatar

Am I allowed to give myself an IV (details inside)?

Asked by talljasperman (17997 points ) December 9th, 2013

The last couple of visits to the ER all that happened is that I take a bed and they let me go after getting an IV of water… Wouldn’t it be simple that before I get sick that I drink some clean water hours before I feel ill… Or have my own IV (maybe take a class on giving myself an IV and saving the time and the trouble of taking care of me). I hear that doctors give themselves IV’s when stressed out, could the class where the doctor learned that be taught in a first aid class?

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20 Answers

Cupcake's avatar

Couldn’t you just drink a gallon of water and a gatorade? Seems easier than learning phlebotomy on yourself.

hearkat's avatar

Consume more beverages that have no caffeine or alcohol in order to avoid dehydration. Consult a physician to examine the potential causes of dehydration. The point is to determine the problem and prevent it – not just keep treating the symptoms.

livelaughlove21's avatar

They didn’t put water into your IV. They put normal saline with NaCl. Don’t put tap water into a vein. Just drink water – simple.

Why are you going to the ER so much for the same problem? Do you have a diagnosed illness causing this or are you not at all concerned that there’s a bigger issue here than needing water?

JLeslie's avatar

Are you actually dehydrated? Or, they hook you up to the IV because that is their protocol for all patients. They did it to my husband the last time he went to the ER and I am still pissed about it. He was well hydrated, able to drink, and did not need an IV.

If you are having trouble staying hydrated even though you drink plenty of water consider adding a little more salt to your diet if you eat and drink very low salt now. Do keep in mind that a high salt diet can be dangerous, I have no idea how much salt you consume, or if you have blood pressure concerns, so you need to judge or discuss with your doctor if more salt might be dangerous. It doesn’t need to be a lot of salt.

WestRiverrat's avatar

If you can give yourself shots, you should be able to give yourself an IV. The problem is finding a doctor that would prescribe an IV for you outside of a hospital or clinic. IVs are not just water. Any doctor found doing so around here would likely be looking for a new profession.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Once an hour drink a 6 to 8 ounce glass of water, have a check list for each and check it off.

Coloma's avatar

Dude! You are so all over the map lately, from hosting Nova to self administered IV’s. You crack me up! Maybe go to your local veterinarian and they can inject a couple quarts of subcutaneous fluids in your shoulder, you’ll have the added amusement of being a hunchback for a few hours while they absorb. lol

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
zenvelo's avatar

@talljasperman Rather than IVs, quit eating all the junk food you eat. On other questions about your diet people have advised you to eat fresh fruit and vegetables and quit eating processed food. And get up and go outside and get some fresh air and exercise.

Do that and you won’t have to go to the ER, and you will feel a lot better.

talljasperman's avatar

@zenvelo I had a nice two bowls of home made chicken noodle soup from my landlord… I pay her $500 a month for food and she gives me better choices.

CWOTUS's avatar

Jaysus. For $500 a month “choice” is right. You could be eating choice steaks every night for that kind of bread.

Getting back to your question… NO! You cannot give yourself an IV on a whim. Aside from the fact that you don’t know what is even contained in that drip bag, you don’t know how long to administer it, what the contra-indications are, or how to resolve them at home if they appear. Furthermore, I doubt very much that you have an autoclave to sterilize your equipment or the discipline to fully sterilize your skin at the injection site.

I understand that some people take a sort of perverse pride in their ability to self-suture wounds that most would have medical help for, and there is a certain risk in that, too. When the skin is broken, especially for wide, deep or wide-and-deep wounds, there are huge risks of infection, and I doubt if antibiotics are sold over the counter even in Canada. (If they are, that’s one thing that I would think probably should not be, because misuse of antibiotics by the unknowing are limiting the effectiveness of all these drugs.) However, suturing a wound is a different issue than IV administration. With a wound, the damage has already been done and the only issues now are prevention of infection, closing of the wound and stopping the bleeding; remediation of an existing problem. You could do the same things that a doctor does in this case of “it must be done, so I can do it if I have to”. With an IV, assuming that you’d be doing this on some more-or-less regular basis, you’d be taking on a considerable risk on a casual basis from time to time when there was no immediate threat. In other words, instead of mitigating risk, you’d be introducing whole new classes of risk.

That’s just absurd.

livelaughlove21's avatar

My husband and I spend about $450 per month on food and people tell us that’s a lot. Really? Tell that to our snack-less kitchen. So, $500 for one dude seems excessive. I sure hope that’s three full meals a day plus snacks and beverages.

Smitha's avatar

Most doctors say that if a person is capable of drinking liquids by mouth there is no reason for an IV.
So just drink plenty of water. Adding a little salt to drinking water or consuming such drinks as Gatorade can replace lost fluids. I have heard people say Home IVs are much better than the ER as it enables you to infuse a bag over a greater period of time and also the body doesn’t flush it all out and you hydrate better. But you must be extremely careful when you administer an IV at home. Improper administration could result in an air embolism and also there is a risk of a clot forming in the vein. Moreover if IV fluids are given too quickly, the body may not be able to absorb them, leading to serious health problems.

hug_of_war's avatar

As stated above, people who are allowed to do IV stuff at home have a serious medical need for it. No doctor worth his salt is going to prescribe you saline because you don’t drink enough. That is crazy. And you really don’t want to try making your own IV solution, those things are really precise for a reason.

Rarebear's avatar

No. And doctors do not give their own IVs.

Lorna's avatar

We spend around $550 on food a month. That’s before the Whiskey!

kounoupi's avatar

I hear that doctors give themselves IV’s

No. Never. Self practicing is a bad idea. As much as it is hard to believe, trust me, when a doctor has health problems they seek medical help, just as everyone else.

Your visits to the ER should tell you that you are doing something wrong in your everyday life, not that you have to learn to self perform a medical procedure! Review your lifestyle, that will be a ton more effective.

KNOWITALL's avatar

No, that is extreme & dangerous. My cousin is nurse of the year & she doesn’t do that to herself or family.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@JLeslie “Or, they hook you up to the IV because that is their protocol for all patients. They did it to my husband the last time he went to the ER and I am still pissed about it. He was well hydrated, able to drink, and did not need an IV.”

The saline in the IV isn’t just for hydration. It’s pretty standard practice to install in IV in the patient in case certain meds are needed, as administering meds intravenously is preferable to administering them by injection each time. While the saline solution is often used to keep patients hydrated it’s also used when hydration isn’t a concern as it helps keeps the IV line open, otherwise the line can clog up with coagulated blood.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar Sorry, money making. He was in no distress, waiting on some labs. I have had many IV’s in my day, including at home. I wasn’t hooked up to saline all day, I just took the meds when scheduled. I also have been in the ER enough that I have never been given fluid for no reason. He had that saline drip for probably 12 minutes and then they were taking everything out and sending him home. Maybe you can argue it’s good to have a line started just in case, but you don’t need the water, if you don’t need it. Recently that was one of the things I saw reported when I was watching Morning Joe. They were looking at hospital fees and how opaque they are and medical costs in general, and a bag of water with saline was one of the ridiculously marked of items. I am glad to see some groups are investing stuff like this now.

I find it almost funny so many on this Q are worried about IV being dangerous when doctors and hospitals think nothing of piercing our skin. I don’t think the OP should give himself an IV, don’t get me wrong. Things can go wrong, especially without the proper supplies. But, I know plenty of people who have home IV, although they are started by a nurse.

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