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Swollen hands after IV line.

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Hi there, I am in Thailand traveling so it is very hard and very expensive to find a doctor i can trust! two weeks ago i was diagnosed with septicemia after having an infected cut on my foot, i was in a hospital for nearly a week constantly on a drip and was discharged last week. Now i am on oral antibiotics every day, meant to be finishing my course tomorrow. however every day my hands swell up more and more, sometimes painfully and really uncomfortably. they are now quite big! i dont know if this is a side effect of the IV and all the injections or antibiotics, or if this is septicemia again and if i should find a hospital again. please help :(

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Category: Family Physician-GP
 30 Doctors Online


The swelling could be due to thrombophlebitis at site of IV catheter applied.

Sometimes when admitted and IV fluids are given, because of not application of IV catheter properly or if left for a long time then it can lead to thrombophlebitis. Thrombophlebitis is inflammation of vein, can be caused whenever there is irritation of vessel wall by thrombus formation in vessel. It can occur if the hand is kept static in one position not allowing flow of blood in the vessel. I suggest you follow the following,

  1. If the IV catheter is still in place and not removed, it's important you get it removed soon by a nurse.
  2. If the catheters weren't changed regularly when you were in hospital, a thrombus must have formed. In those cases I suggest you apply thrombophobe ointment which would be helpful.
  3. I suggest you take ibuprofen, which is an anti-inflammatory.
  4. Try elevating your hand, it will reduce the swelling.
  5. Do not try applying pressure in the swollen area as well.

If after following the above step there is still swelling after 4 or 5 days, I suggest you consult a physician.

Thank you.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
Dr. John Monheit and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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