IV Bolus Vs Push: What’s The Difference And Which Do You Need?

Dehydration is a popular hot button topic in many of today’s sports and exercise discussions, but medical expertise on what goes into dehydration isn’t so easy to come by. What to drink and how much to consume a day can get overwhelming in a hurry. Today, we take a look at what causes dehydration and whether an IV bolus or IV push is right for you.

What is dehydration and why does it happen?

A healthy human body is mostly made up of water. We lose some of this water throughout the day in the breath we exhale, through sweat, or by other bodily fluids. When the normal water content in the body is reduced it can upset the balance of minerals in your body, affecting the way it functions. Having enough water in the body promotes proper blood circulation, efficient waste removal as well as regulating body temperature through sweating.

Dehydration is typically caused by not drinking enough fluids or when the body loses more fluid than it has replaced. Extensive exercise sessions, a hot and humid climate and diet are considerable factors that can lead to dehydration. One can also become dehydrated as a result of fluids lost due to illness, such as diarrhea and vomiting or sweating from a fever. Being ill puts a greater demand on your body’s resources, which can greatly accelerate the dehydration process.

Fluid intake is vital for many of our bodily functions, and we can easily become dehydrated if we are not replenishing these fluids properly. In addition to drinking enough water, we also need to replace the electrolytes (primarily Potassium and Sodium) our bodies have lost throughout the day. Simply consuming water without electrolyte replacement after sweating and losing fluids does not restore balance back to the body.

IV bolus vs IV push: which is right for you?

An IV push is when vitamins or medications are given rapidly, typically in less than 30 seconds. IV push is typically only used in emergency situations. An example of an IV push used appropriately would be during an allergic reaction or heart attack. For example, a dose of the medications Atropine or Adenosine could be given by IV push to counteract such an emergency health situation.

An IV bolus is when vitamins or medications are taken over a longer time period, typically one to 30 minutes in non-emergency situations. The IV fluid line is typically wide open, as opposed to a typical slower drip of a long-dosing standard IV. The biggest advantage of this method is that a bolus quickly raises the concentration of vitamins or medications in the blood to an effective level. A common use of medication administered via IV bolus would be insulin for a type-one diabetic.

Standard IVs, meanwhile, last longer than IV bolus – typically 30 – 60 minutes – and are likewise used for non-emergency situations. Rehydration is the most common use of standard IV drip therapy.

What’s in a word?

The term ‘bolus’ can cause some confusion when trying to understand the differences between IV delivery methods.

A bolus, by definition, is a single large dose of a medication. Both an IV push and an IV bolus are technically using a bolus. A push, however, is effectively a bolus delivered in seconds versus the minutes of a bolus or hours of a standard IV drip.

Which do you need?

In summary, there are three prevalent forms of IV therapy treatment delivery: IV push, bolus, and standard IV drip.

  • IV push is typically only used for emergency situations.
  • An IV bolus is still fast-acting but will take minutes rather than the seconds of an IV push.
  • A standard IV drip dose is the slowest of all three versions and can take 30 minutes or more, depending on the type of infusion used.

How long does standard IV therapy last?

A standard IV drip will typically take 30 minutes – 1 hour. Fluids and any medications or vitamins are added to the blood stream at a slow and steady pace. An example of a standard IV drip dose could be 1 Liter of Normal Saline IV bolus over 1 hour. Certain types of IV treatments, such as NAD+ or Iron infusions, may take 3 – 4 hours per infusion.

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In-Home IV Therapy With Drip Hydration

Drip Hydration is a medical service that provides IV therapy at home in dozens of states around the United States. We can also provide COVID-19 testing at home, as well as for businesses and events. All of our nurses are registered in their state of operation.

Drip Hydration may be able to provide you the exact service you need, safely and right in your own home or office! Contact us and we will make sure your IV treatment is the best choice to support your health and overall wellness. Give us a call or book an appointment using the button below!



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