Discharge Instructions for IV Infiltration

An IV is a thin, flexible tube put into a vein (intravenous). This is done most often in your arm or hand. The tube sends fluids, such as salt or sugar solution, medicine, blood, or nutrition right into your vein. IV infiltration is when some of the fluid leaks out into the tissues under the skin where the tube has been put into your vein. This can occur if the tip of the catheter slips out of the vein. You may have swelling, pain, or burning in the IV area. This is a common problem. Here’s how to take care of yourself at home after IV infiltration.

Home care

  • Rest at home as needed.

  • When sitting or lying down, raise your arm above your heart. Rest your arm on a pillow.

  • Put a warm or cold compress on the site for 20 minutes. Your healthcare provider will tell you which to use. Put on the compress 2 to 3 times a day. Put a thin towel between your skin and the compress.

  • Keep the site clean and dry. You may have a bandage covering the IV site. Change your bandage if it gets dirty or wet.

  • Check the area around the IV site often to see how it looks.

  • Don’t wear clothes with tight cuffs or sleeves. Don’t wear a watch or bracelet on the affected arm.

  • Don’t use lotion, soap, or other products on your skin at the IV site.

  • Take medicine for discomfort as directed. Only take the medicine your healthcare provider tells you is OK.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider as directed. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need more treatment on the area. This may include a shot (injection) of medicine to help your body absorb the fluid.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if any of the following occur:

  • Red streaks in your skin near the IV site

  • Skin at the IV site that turns dark and peels

  • Fluid, blood, or pus leaking from the IV site

  • Swelling, pain, or redness at the IV site that doesn’t get better, or gets worse

  • Numb, tight, or cool feeling at the IV site

  • Blisters or bruises on your skin at the IV site

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Tennille Dozier RN BSN RDMS
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2022
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