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IV Infiltration

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 6, 2022.

An infiltrated IV (intravenous) catheter happens when the catheter goes through or comes out of your vein. The IV fluid then leaks into the surrounding tissue. This may cause pain, swelling, and skin that is cool to the touch. Some IV medicines can cause your skin and tissue to die (necrosis) if they leak into your tissues. IV infiltration of these medicines can also cause blisters, sores, and peeling skin.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You develop a fever more than 101º F.
  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • You have thick or bloody drainage from the IV site.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You develop a new burning or stinging feeling near your infiltration site.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Manage your infiltration site:

  • Use cold or heat packs as directed. Your healthcare provider will tell you which to use according to the type of infiltrated fluid.
  • Rest and elevate your arm above the level of your heart as directed . This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your arm on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Do not use soaps, lotion, or creams on the area unless directed by your healthcare provider. Ask your healthcare provider what you should clean the area with and if you need creams or a bandage.

Follow up with your healthcare provider in 1 day or as directed:

You may need to follow up weekly so that your healthcare provider can check your wound. He may refer you to a plastic surgeon or wound care specialist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visit.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.