Fluid Flow Facts

Here's the scoop about IVs...(sounds like "eyevee") An IV is a bag of water and sometimes medicine that gets connected to your vein through a tiny tube. Veins are those little tunnels all over your body that your blood travels through. Are you wondering how the IVs get connected? Or what that weird blue machine is doing standing next to me (looks sort of like a robot, doesn't it)? Or how come kids need IVs in the first place?

Julia and her IV

Well, you've come to the right page if you have all of those questions, because I've become sort of an expert on the topic. When you have operations or some medical problems where you can't eat for awhile, IVs let your body get the water it needs. The hard part is that your veins are inside your body, not on the outside. That means that to get an IV, someone has to put a needle through your skin to find one of those tunnels. 

Sure wish I had a zipper on my skin, so that I wouldn't need the needle part, but it's not the worst thing in the world. The good news is that once the vein is found and the IV is connected to it through the skinny tube, you can't even feel it. Really! By the way, when you get better and don't need to have an IV any more, the nurse takes it out, and you'll be happy to know that taking it out doesn't hurt at all!

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 14, 2004