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Tips For Your First IV Infusion Session

by Ellen Lucas

There are a number of drugs that, for better or worse, tend to work best and be best absorbed into the body if delivered via IV. This is true of many medications for osteoporosis. It's also true for some cancer treatment medications. Regardless of the exact treatment you're receiving, undergoing IV infusion therapy for the first time can be a little stressful, partly because you don't quite know what to do and what to expect.

Here are a few tips to help you through your first IV infusion therapy appointment.

If you're afraid of needles, tell the practitioner

Some practitioners will ask you whether you're afraid of needles, and others won't. Answer this question honestly, or volunteer the information to the practitioner if you are not asked. Being afraid of needles is nothing to be ashamed of. It is more common than you might imagine, and people who administer IVs are trained to help you handle it. They can use a smaller needle, distract you while they insert the needle, and make sure they completely "hide" the needle under tape while it is in your arm.

Do something relaxing beforehand

If you are relaxed and relatively at ease when you arrive, it will often be easier for the practitioner to find your vein and insert the IV needle. So, it is, therefore, a good idea to do something restful and relaxing before your IV treatment. Do a simple yoga session, meditate for a few minutes, or read a book that puts you in a good mood.

Bring something to do

Some IV centers have TVs for you to watch or magazines for you to read, but you don't want to count on this. Bring something to read or something to do while your treatment is being administered. The time will pass a lot faster, and you're less likely to get anxious about having an IV in your arm.

Follow the after-care instructions

Depending on the medication you were given, you may be instructed not to eat for a few hours afterwards. Or, you may be told to have a snack and a drink ASAP. With some meds, you are also told to avoid exercise for a few days. Follow these after-care instructions to keep your risk of side effects low, and to boost the effectiveness of the medication.

The tips above should serve you well the first time you get an IV, and frankly, every time after that.