should I get IV fluids for a hangover at work?

A reader writes:

A local company where I live advertises “recreational” IV fluids on the radio. They push the fluids for recovery from illness, colds, and hangovers. Their latest ad suggests that their mobile unit can come to your place of work and administer your hangover “cure” at your job. This horrifies me in so many ways I can’t count them, but what do you think about this from an employee and workplace point of view?

Where have these people worked in the past that this seemed like a good way to market their service?!

As much as I do like the idea of telling people I have to delay a meeting while I get IV fluids for a hangover … it’s an obviously bad idea.

And if you have a cold or illness that requires fluids administered by IV, your coworkers probably won’t appreciate you being at work, particularly right now. It’s hard to imagine a faster way of alarming your colleagues, in fact.

That said, they could probably do good business with this office.

{ 288 comments… read them below }

        1. Usagi*

          Not always! You’re absolutely correct in that there are infusion pumps, which allow for the flow rate to be controlled, but in many cases IVs just rely on gravity. I don’t have any personal experience with these hydration IV companies, but I’d assume they wouldn’t use a pump? To cut costs for one thing, but also because they’re “just” hydrating the person, not giving them any kind of medication, where the timing or amount might need to be more exact.

          1. Thegs*

            When I had to get medically rehydrated with an IV it was just with gravity fed bags, yeah. If I had to take a guess they don’t want to suddenly put a lot of fluid in to you which might end up stressing the systems that enforce your body’s homeostasis.

        2. KoiFeeder*

          I was pretty sure that was the case, but my last IV involved morphine and it’s obviously a little difficult to remember the nuances in that situation…

        3. L'étrangere*

          No they don’t, no pumps involved for a regular IV, at all. However the myth that hangovers are merely dehydration is equally false. Hangovers are caused by your liver working hard to process the toxic substance you ingested, and trying to eliminate the toxic byproducts. That’s why you will eventually die of cirrhosis of the liver, and not so much kidney failure

  1. lost academic*

    As a migraine sufferer I was ecstatic to hear about these services. TAKE MY MONEY, I thought. But it turns out you can’t order them up for actual emergencies. You have to plan – so it really is about planning to get wasted and recover quickly. Which… sucked when I realized it :( Avoiding the ER to get some antinausea meds, Tordol and fluids in the grip of a major migraine would be AMAZING.

    1. ByeBye9-5*

      We have a place called Whydrate that seems to be a chain. They don’t come to you but their office is sooo nice. Cool, dark, quiet. I go after a stomach bug and get rehydrated.

    2. Have you tried sparkling at it?*

      Oh. Well, that just sucks. As another migraine sufferer, I just went through the same excitement because that sounds so much nicer (less loud and bright) and likely cheaper than an ER visit if keeping hydrated is your main problem.

      But idk anyone who can schedule their migraines in the same way.

      1. Nanani*

        Right? You’d need a very fortunate combination of knowing your triggers and when they’re most likely to happen, and even then :/

        1. Becky*

          My roommate will sometimes have migraines that last for days on end, so maybe it could help in that case?

          1. lost academic*

            That’s basically the definition of a migraine, but if you have to wait 24-48 hours to schedule something (or more) and you need that IV intervention (because you’re vomiting so often due to the pain you can’t take anything to break the cycle orally) it’s not really helpful.

    3. Hats Are Great*

      I had to be rehydrated frequently when I was pregnant, and it would have been massively convenient if they could come to work and I could just sit at my desk with an IV in instead having to go to the hospital.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Thanks for noting this! I was having trouble thinking of literally any use for this that could be planned in advance but that makes sense.

      2. Mourning Sickness*

        As someone currently going through a miserable first trimester, this sounds like a dream…but it wouldn’t feel appropriate to be hooked up to an IV in my office. Maybe it’s just the culture of my community/workplace, but I feel like it would make people uncomfortable.

          1. Mannequin*

            Those library desk cubicles aren’t meant to do either one of those things, they are meant to add a convenience for people who want to do something important at the library while they have their kids with them.
            Like, I sincerely cannot even imagine any parent of my acquaintance (which includes everything from “single parents on welfare” to “2 working parents making bank w/a retired grandparent doing all childcare” preferring to leave their kids with a sitter or at daycare rather than bring them along to introduce them to how cool libraries are or let them quietly look at/for books while the parent is doing their thing.

            Also showers at work? Don’t people who bike or otherwise commute in ways that leave them sweaty or disheveled really appreciate those? Probably nice for people who want to go somewhere straight after work & be fresh rather than rumpled as well.

            1. Koalafied*

              My comment wasn’t about whether they’re useful or not, but about what message they send, “whether intended or not.”

                1. Koalafied*

                  Did I say they were in a workplace? I said “building playpen into a desk” and linked to an article showing how a picture of such a thing had recently gone viral and got responses like, “this is not the solution that we’re all looking for,” and “I adore libraries and librarians. They are the heroes we need. But let’s be clear: THIS IS NOT CHILDCARE.”

                  Again, I was just responding to Mourning Sickness’s comment which said that even though it sounds like a dream to her, she thinks it would make people uncomfortable. The playpen-desk and office showers are other examples that would undoubtedly be extremely helpful or useful to some people, but are likely to be perceived by a significant amount of people as being part of the culture of overwork, even if they weren’t installed with that intent.

            2. rubble*

              maybe I’m an asshole but I’d never shower at work after biking there (granted I wouldn’t bike if it was going to take longer than 20 minutes). I would probably bike in different clothes, at least not in my work shirt, but I wouldn’t shower. I wouldn’t feel comfortable getting naked at work, even in a private space. would that be a faux pas if there are showers provided?

              1. Bagpuss*

                I think whether it was a faux pas would depend on whether it was noticeable. If you were sweaty then just changing clothes without washing might not be enough, especially in hot or humid weather.

          2. Gumby*

            We just moved offices and this one doesn’t have showers and the people who bike to work are pretty unhappy about that aspect. So my association with showers at work is “fee free to bike to work or workout on your lunch hour” not “feel free to stay for ever and ever.”

        1. turquoisecow*

          Some people get really squicked out by needles so I imagine that it might not be fun for them to see people hooked up to IVs in the office.

          1. IndustriousLabRat*

            Yup. I’m TERRIFIED of needles. In person, in movies, all of it. If I came across a colleague just chillin’ with an IV bag I’d be out of there so fast…

          2. UKDancer*

            Definitely. I have real needle issues so would definitely not want to see someone on an IV. I struggle to give blood and that’s an altruistic thing to do which I can only do if I don’t look at my needle or anyone else’s. The last thing I’d want to see is people on an IV in the office.

        2. Skytext*

          I wonder if that is how it works? I was picturing a mobile unit parked outside where you go into it—like the mobile Bloodmobiles when you have a blood drive at your workplace. But coming into the office? Could be problematic.

        3. Anonymous4*

          I wouldn’t want to tell you IRL, because I wouldn’t want to interfere on the grounds that no one gets an IV at work just for giggles, but I would be MASSIVELY squicked out if I walked down the hall and saw someone hooked up to — or, even worse, in the process of becoming hooked up to — an IV.

          “Uncomfortable” would be throwing roses at it. “Horrified and somewhat nauseated” would be a little closer to reality.

          1. KateM*

            I was reading this article and thinking “wait, there are people who do recreationally the thing that I scare my kids with when they are sick with high temperature and don’t want to drink??”.

            1. wittyrepartee*

              I mean, I will put it out there that needle-phobia is just that, a phobia. I don’t feel scared or upset at all when I get blood draws or injections.

              1. KateM*

                Blood draws or injections take a couple of seconds – you are not attached to a needle for hours, making moving your arm cumbersome or painful, dragging IV bag holder with you when going to toilet etc. When my kid was in hospital, he was attached to those things pretty much 24/7 – maybe when he was better he got to be without during night so he could sleep more comfortably. So the actual choice I put in front of him was “would you rather lie in your own bed at home with your family around you and being able to call mom any time, and drink a lot even though it doesn’t taste that good [after a day or two, anyway], or lie in a strange hospital bed in a room with other sufferers with strange nurses checking on you when they feel like it, with a needle plus hose plus bag plus bag holder attached to your arm all day long”.

          2. Sleeping Late Every Day*

            One of my recent IVs involved a huge spurt of blood all over me and the technician hooking me up, and then a few minutes later, getting squirted in the face with liquid as it was piggybacked onto the IV. Not something anyone would want to experience – or watch – in the workplace.

          3. JustaTech*

            I work with blood so all my questions are about the proper clean up – where’s the sharps container? Where’s the biohazard bin? Most workplaces don’t have those, but you 100% Must Not throw any of that stuff in the regular trash.

            Also, shouldn’t there be a nurse or tech to take the IV out when it’s done?

    4. The Dogman*

      The really stupid thing is one can avoid hangovers by:

      not drinking to excess (obviously),

      being hydrated before drinking,

      eating a decent and well balanced meal a few hours before overindulging in alcohol,

      taking a good multi-vitamin a few hours before drinking,

      and the most important NOT MIXING YOUR DRINKS!

      mixing types of alcohol is the most surefire way of getting hangovers… stick to one type of drink each night and don’t go mad, then no need for IVs.

      1. calonkat*

        I don’t drink (no judgement from me for others, I just don’t like the taste or the cost), and even I know these things (except the multi-vitamin, that’s a new one). But many of my friends always swore by not mixing drinks and drinking water alternating with the alcohol and drinking a glass of water before sleeping.

        1. F.M.*

          That’s what they taught me in my college sorority. (Which was a calm, small organization that held one party a year out of a sense of obligation, but was full of women who also believed that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure.) One glass/bottle of water for every beer, cocktail, or shot you have, then on the way to bed take one painkiller and stage a bottle of water beside you.

          “Besides,” they told me, “that way you’re drinking so much water that you just won’t have the room in your stomach to overdrink by losing count of how many drinks you’ve had.”

          I didn’t actually drink until I was 21, and never enough to be tipsy until years later, but I much appreciated their advice when it finally became useful in my 30s.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yes, I wouldn’t blame someone for accidentally drinking so much they need an IV the next day–obviously once you’ve reached a certain point your judgement is impaired… but it doesn’t seem like something you should ever *plan* in advance!! Just plan to drink more water!!

      3. Artemesia*

        My son who used to drink a fair amount told me that he always drinks a glass of water for ever glass of alcohol — I started doing it and have not had a hangover since. To be sure, I am not much of a drinker — but even so would sometimes have a headache the next morning. This rule ended that.

        1. allathian*

          Yup. If I forget to drink enough water, I’ll get a hangover for sure, even if it’s just a couple of drinks.

      4. PuzzleObsessed*

        The only thing that prevents hangovers is not drinking—hangover is physiological alcohol withdrawal.

        1. Liz T*

          Alcohol withdrawal causes symptoms like tremors and rapid heartbeat. The most typical hangover symptoms are caused by dehydration, inhibited glucose production, and other direct affects of alcohol (not the withdrawal thereof).

          Yes, the only *surefire* way to prevent a hangover is to not do the only thing that causes a hangover. But it is also possible to prevent some forms of hangover, while still drinking, by offsetting the effects of alcohol on your body.

          1. wittyrepartee*

            I get rapid heartbeat in the middle of the night when the alcohol wears off. It wakes me up. I drink very infrequently and lightly too.

      5. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        The only drinks that ever gave me hangovers had sugar in them. Straight up or mixed with water or seltzer, I could drink for hours and feel great the next morning. Plus I didn’t get nearly as drunk. It could all have been a metabolism thing unique to my system, but it was a useful discovery in my young drinking days. So if I wanted sweeter drinks, I guess that would be planned hangovers!

      6. londonedit*

        Fried egg sandwich and a pint of water before bed, then any sort of sports rehydration drink in the morning. Full English optional but recommended. Get those electrolytes back on board and you’re good to go.

      7. MsSolo (UK)*

        The vitamin one and the not mixing aren’t actually true
        – mixing is only an issue because it makes it harder to track how much you’ve drunk, but ten units of wine and ten units of different spirits drunk at the same pace will make you the same amount of hungover.
        – if you have a healthy, balanced diet, most of the contents of that vitamin are going straight to your pee anyway. If your body doesn’t need it it’s not going to keep it hanging around just in case

        1. JustaTech*

          Unless you’re sensitive to the sulfites in red wine – for different people some of the non-alcohol components of alcoholic beverages can cause some of the hangover symptoms.

          Then again, I know someone who got what they described as a hangover from cheese. They’d worked a cheese festival but had very few opportunities to drink any water with all the cheese and the next day had a terrible headache and all the rest of the usual hangover symptoms. So really anything that causes dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can make a person feel hungover, even if you don’t have the specific metabolites of alcohol.

    5. Wintermute*

      It’s largely an issue of liability, most of them don’t want the medical liability of someone trying to use them when they belong in the ER. The last thing they want is someone calling them for “just a flu” and it turns out they’re mid-heart-attack (which can be very flu-like most especially for women) and die, and the grieving family comes at them saying “you have nurses, you should have noticed something!!” Which, to be honest is a fair critique of a medical-adjacent service like this that is trying to be “not-a-medical-provider-we-swear!” while using medical equipment and IV medication.

      There are places that will do a short-order visit though, I would just avoid mentioning that you have a medical emergency (which, technically a migraine is, even if it’s so regular for YOU that it doesn’t feel very emergent).

    6. kittymommy*

      I never thought about this for my migraines. Hmm, now I need to look to see if we have it here.

    7. JKateM*

      We have a house doctor who does these and you can call them for an emergency. They currently only serve on week days though.

    8. L'étrangere*

      What is equally amazing is your touching faith in the medical qualifications, or even mere hygiene standards, of people who do IVs with no prescription whatsoever. Incidentally, if staying hydrated was the only thing you needed to do in order to stave off migraines, I’m pretty sure this would be front-page news and your doctor would have reached out to inform you

      1. Bagpuss*

        I don’t think it’s to stave off migraine, it’s to help recover / shorten the effect of the dehydration caused by the vomiting as a result of the migraine – broadly the same reasons (albeit different underlying cause) why it could be helpful for someone suffering severe morning sickness.

        And to some extent you would be able to review things like hygiene – not, I imagine, while in the grip of a migraine but if you had a ‘dry run ‘ when you were not sick , then you would be able to consider things like whether everything was in a sealed package, whether they were using appropriate precautions such as washing, gloves, cleaning the IV site.

        That’s not to say that I personally would go for it but I don’t think I’d be quite as dismissive .

    1. T. Boone Pickens*

      Ha, yes there was a story arc about this exact thing on the TV show, “Billions”. Very similar.

      1. Bob-White of the Glen*

        Also on Grey’s Anatomy (first or second season.) The show which is such a great paragon of excellent management. (Snark off.)

        1. MusicWithRocksIn*

          Ahhh yes. When Meredith was trashed and just wondering around a hospital drunk with a banana bag. Not really the person I want to be at my work.

    2. Nobby Nobbs*

      My first thought was, “They didn’t even try this on M*A*S*H!” If it’s too outrageous for Hawkeye, it’s too outrageous for your workplace.

    3. Emily*

      Wasn’t there a scene in madmen where the whole office gets an injection of… some kind of recreational drug to enhance their creativity? Ok a bit different but still.

      1. Low Stakes OP*

        OMG. Low stakes OP here but I’d forgotten about the not so low grade meth administration. Such a good episode!

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        Vit B12 + amphetamines. “Vitamin shots” they told the office.

        Ken did a tap dancing number, which was unfortunate because he had a broken foot at the time.

    4. The Rules are Made Up*

      Funny thing is at a few entertainment companies they do this for their employees (though it would be weird if a singular employee ordered one to work for themselves). The first I ever heard of this service was at a company party for a vendor my company worked with often, one of their managers was telling me that they have the IV hangover people come the day after their company parties lolllll.

  2. Eames*

    This whole business model disturbs me so much, and I’m trying to figure out if it is a me problem or a them problem.

    1. lost academic*

      Kind of…. the idea that you can just party to excess with no consequences is vaguely irksome, but at the same time, if you have a legitimate need for these services, regardless of how you got in that state, you are mostly stuck going to the emergency room which is generally not where you should be for a host of reasons. Most of my regular doctors and the urgent cares I’ve visited cannot do IVs.

      1. MistOrMister*

        There is an urgent care near me that does IVs. It’s really convenient for when you’ve had a horrific stomach problem and are avout to die from dehydration but not dying urgently enough to incur a $1,000 ER bill.

        1. Caroline Bowman*

          Yes, my husband has had just such a thing done at a healthcare centre when he was so dehydrated from a terrible stomach bug that his ears were ringing (his body was using literally any liquid left to try and stave off dehydration, inner ear fluid included). Regular GP was useless, so when he got in front of someone sensible, they just hooked him up to an IV and it was an incredible recovery.

          Unless I was working from home, and not required in any meetings / calls at the time, I’m not totally sure this is a viable work appointment!

      2. A Genuine Scientician*

        There was about a 4 year window where every time I flew cross country, I’d get a horrible GI bug and end up severely dehydrated for a few days after the flight. Thankfully, the most common flight for me at the time was from where I was in school (California) to my dad (New York), near where I had grown up and thus the physician’s office I had been going to still had my records on file. Several times they ended up giving me a 1-2 bags of IV saline due to this dehydration. I can imagine the usefulness of being able to schedule an IV rehydration in that type of circumstance.

        (Years later, I was eventually diagnosed with a genetic condition that turns out to make this kind of thing more likely)

      3. RagingADHD*

        I mean, partying to excess as a way of life has consequences in the long term, no matter how many IVs you get.

        But it’s not really anyone elses problem, or their business.

    2. Xenia*

      Given that other posters have mentioned that you can’t actually call them for emergencies, only pre-scheduled stuff (ie, you can’t call them for a migraine but you can if you’re planning on getting hammered on Thursday night) I’m going with them problem.

      1. Wintermute*

        There are places that will do a short-term call, but they avoid people with serious medical issues because of the liability– the line between “needs rehydration therapy medically” and “needs rehydration AND A WHOLE LOT MORE in an inpatient setting” is not one they’re comfortable making in the field. Because they employ actual nurses the moment they take you “under care” they have a duty of care to you, which complicates things immensely because in a hospital ER setting they would usually start with the IV see how much better you get and then assess whether you need inpatient treatment based on how much you recover and if other indicators show you may have complications (kidney insult from dehydration, etc).

        The service just isn’t equipped nor is it intended to IV you and then monitor your urine output for four hours to see if your kidneys are functioning properly or you need hospital admission, or to run blood and urine tests for metabolite levels, or any of the other things an ER would do for a properly sick person who came in in need of emergency rehydration therapy.

      2. Sylvan*

        Their services might be intended for people with ongoing medical problems, but marketed to broader audiences because… Idk, there are people out there with both expected hangovers and more money than sense.

        1. Wintermute*

          I think this is quite probable. There’s a lot of grey-area wink and nod going on. They don’t want the regulation and the risk of treating emergency patients but some people need regular rehydration that aren’t having an “emergency” it’s part of managing an ongoing illness

          It very well could be like those “as seen on TV” gadgets– it’s considered “uncouth” to market to the disabled and elderly so rather than just come out and say “the JarGenie (TM) is great for people who have compromised grip strength or motor coordination issues” they instead film black-and-white footage of able-bodied people who fail intensely at simple life tasks and leave the “this would be great for the disabled” as an unspoken nudge-nudge thing.

    3. Jen*

      The only time I’ve had IV fluids was when I was extremely ill (severe stomach bug, my friend had one for hyperemesis) or had to have an empty stomach for surgery. And in neither of those cases should you be at work?

      Surely for most people if you’re dehydrated but well enough to be at work, you should just…. drink some fluids?

      1. Hats Are Great*

        As a three-time sufferer of hyperemesis gravidarum, you can’t actually take nine months off work just because you’re vomiting 30 times a day. Staying home would have been glorious, but I was just pregnant, not sick, so I had to keep going to work, and go to the ER for emergency rehydration as needed.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          This is one of those comments that, like the one from the guy who’s coworker had a terminal illness but was still coming into work out of necessity, really illustrates how broken healthcare is over here.

          1. Jen*

            Although if you were actually sick I wouldn’t recommend getting fluids from some spa treatment place.

            Yes, Healthcare in this country is broken.

        2. Caroline Bowman*

          That sounds completely and mind-bogglingly dreadful. I cannot even begin to imagine.

          As my lovely gynae said to me, it is 100% possible to be pregnant AND sick or for pregnancy to MAKE you very sick indeed. It’s incredibly hard on a body in many ways and it’s not just ”natural” and normal to carry on. There’s a reason why pregnancy and childbirth and immediately post-partum are the riskiest times in a female’s life. I’m so sorry you went through that.

        3. Dust Bunny*

          Hyperemesis gravidarum and over-partying are not really in the same category. Especially if the IV-for-hangovers service has to be pre-booked. Nobody *plans* to have hyperemesis gravidarum.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            But if you have it, you could schedule IV fluids, no hangover needed.
            If you’re so lucky that it goes away, you cancel.

            1. Jen*

              My friend who had severe HG was provided with a home IV system, but it was provided by an actual doctor, bit some weird medspa.

              1. Daffodilly*

                Yep. I had a family member in the same boat. I went over every day for 5-6 weeks to administer Zofran through the IV because her husband was deployed and she was far too shaky to do it herself one handed. I only lived a few blocks away, thank goodness. Home health care only came every 5 days to switch the IV location.

    4. Smithy*

      While I get that pre-planning night after a party is the lighter side of this, and yes – they can’t be ordered in an emergency – I do think that does afford a range of in-between usages that are still nice but likely less snappy in advertisements.

      For a start, the day after international travel or any kind of long flight – this kind of service sounds amazing. And then in the larger scheme of health/wellness – I could see wanting to try extra fluids either during PMS or one’s period, after a planned outdoor workout in either high heat or higher difficulty than usual, as part of recovery from illness, etc. I just think for simplistic advertising, it’s easier to focus on the partying aspect.

      Pedialyte has been getting into the adult market a lot more in recent years, and it’s interesting to see how they’re balancing this line of trying very hard not to say “helps prevent or recover from a hangover”. And while I may have first discovered the product that way, overtime it did make itself well known for a wider variety of uses (post travel, illness, etc).

      1. Fikly*

        Funny story about Pedialyte – my sister does competitive roller derby, and that’s how I learned that the entire team downs massive quantities of Pedialyte for recovery (and maybe before?) as they prefer it over gatorade and other sports drinks, and this is not uncommon, at least in her league.

      2. Librarian of SHIELD*

        I’ve had to have a lot of IVs over the years out of medical necessity, and I do not ever want to have one if I don’t desperately need it. I’ve never had a pleasant IV, and while I do feel better after I’ve had one, that doesn’t mean I’m signing up for extra ones just because I had a hard workout or a long flight.

        I think it could be useful in cases like Hats Are Great mentioned above, for a person who’s pregnancy complications could be made better by regular IV rehydration. But overall, this feels like another example of “see? Your workplace has thought of everything you could possibly need! You don’t need to stay home or go to the doctor if you’re sick, you can just hook up the ol’ IV right there at your desk and keep chugging away at your work!”

        1. Smithy*

          I guess my comment was more thinking about the larger business model of mobile IV’s and not IV’s offered at work.

          I’ve had IV’s a few times in my life due to medical necessity….and personally, I would sign up after a long flight. But that’s certainly a case of “your mileage may vary”. The feeling of going into the ER with extreme food poisoning and feeling like death, getting one of those IV’s and feeling so much better….

          All to say. Personally, I’d sign up for that kind of experience when I wasn’t on the brink of death and don’t find it necessarily disturbing or problematic. But that doesn’t mean it would be for everyone.

    5. Lynn*

      I think it’s a them problem. Rehydration is a real issue but should be administered by a medical professional trained to evaluate for other symptoms. For everything else, it’s making an unnecessary puncture to the epidermis in order to… recovery more quickly from a hangover?

      1. Sylvan*

        Companies like this also administer infusions to address vitamin deficiencies and help people with ongoing medical issues. It’s not all about hangovers, that’s just what they advertise for whatever reason. Also, the employees typically have medical backgrounds. They’re not just random people with a GED/bachelor’s degree and a burning desire to put needles in people.

        (I think these things should be done by nurses and similarly trained people, and only when medically necessary, but I happen to know a little about this kind of business.)

      2. Wintermute*

        I love the IDEA of this service, but I sort of agree: as I mentioned elsewhere the standard of care for someone who needs rehydration therapy includes monitoring urine output, checking for edema, running blood and urine tests to make sure your body is properly filtering and metabolizing everything properly and otherwise making sure that your kidneys, liver and digestive system are in good order.

        If you’re just recovering from routine low-to-moderate-grade dehydration, can tolerate fluids by mouth, and are not in an emergent situation, then pedialyte ought to be more than enough. If any of those are not true, you need an ER not a nurse in a van with an IV stand.

        I can see the benefits of vitamins and pure O2, but you can get those over the counter too! Buy a canned O2 setup on amazon, some sachets of clinical-grade oral rehydration mix, and some multivitamins and save yourself the potential complications of any venous access procedure (minute but not nonexistent!) and a bunch of money!

        The one place I can see this is people who need to be peak on their game while traveling, I don’t think it’s responsible to market it for alcohol overconsumption– and to be fair some of these services do mention travel/jet lag and athletic competition as use cases and not all of them focus on the “hangover cure” space, which I do find more ethical and responsible. In that case, after a 15-hour flight or some vitamins, IV fluids (because you do dehydrate when flying), pure oxygen and a power nap could be way better than suffering jet lag when you really need to be doing peak work or performing athletically.

    6. They Called Me....Skeletor*

      The only real issue I have with it is that this is the first time I’m hearing about it and, once again, I am left feeling like I missed a meeting.

    7. Generic Name*

      Yeah, I feel ooky about this too. Maybe because I strongly associate having an IV with Being in the Hospital, and I can’t imagine voluntarily getting an IV for….recreational purposes?? Not the right term, but yeah. I guess it’s a natural extension of healthcare as a commercial, for-profit endeavor, and not, you know, a necessity and a human right. I mean, prescription medications are marketed directly to consumers via TV ads, you can get elective cosmetic surgery, why not IVs administered by for-profit companies outside the healthcare system? Sigh

  3. Bob*

    The target market may specifically be to people with massive hangovers. I have a friend who’s a doctor; he and his doctor buddies like to drink a lot. They’ll occasionally administer saline IVs the morning after, and swear that they provide immediate, total relief. I guess a hangover is caused by dehydration.

    Not recommending or condoning, but I guess it’s a thing.

    1. Cthulhu's Librarian*

      … so many questions about the use of resources in this way. Who are the saline bags recorded as being used by, I wonder? Does the hospital never notice the shrinkage of their stock?

      1. Omnivalent*

        “Why does the public not trust us and gets their medical information from influencers and Dr. Google?” – these same doctors probably

    2. Ally McBeal*

      HA! Came to the comments to make the doctor connection. One of my good buddies in college was pre-med and he had a connection with his EMT friends, they’d bring the IV bags *to the party* so they’d have them handy when they rolled off the futons the next morning.

      1. anne of mean gables*

        One of my favorite photos in the world is my nurse sister in law administering saline-and-Zofran IVs to my brother and now-husband at his bachelor party.

        1. Caroline Bowman*

          my brother in law inadvertently got into the most wretched state the night before his actual wedding and a close relative who’s a doctor had to step in with emergency treatment to get him upright and lucid for the wedding.

          The mad thing is, he’s absolutely not a heavy drinker, nor is he impulsive or prone to stupid selfish stuff normally. He’s a kind, sensible person and they’ve been happily married for nearly 30 years at this stage, but the wedding very nearly didn’t happen, my sister was FURIOUS, and I don’t blame her at all.

        2. Wendy Darling*

          I would have killed for a saline-and-zofran IV when I had norovirus. I couldn’t keep down liquids and got so thirsty I was just sitting on the couch crying about it. I actually decided I was going to emergency if I couldn’t keep liquids down by like 2pm or something, finally figured out how to drink things at like 1:30.

          1. Broken Binding*

            I have Crohn’s Disease and an ileostomy so dealing with nausea, vomiting, and dehydration are pretty much an everyday thing. If you can’t keep anything down there are anti-nausea meds that melt under the tongue (they are absorbed very quickly through the thinner tissue there) and even suppositories assuming the issue isn’t affecting all exits. Because of my health issues, I tend to have a script on hand just in case, but I know that my PCP would call in an Rx rather than ask me to come in or go to the ER and risk being exposed to other illnesses. It is definitely worth discussing with your doctor if that is something they are willing to do if it ever happens again – there are few feelings worse than uncontrollable vomiting.

    3. Antilles*

      It’s true that hangovers are caused by dehydration but like…couldn’t you just drink more water while you’re out? Seems like that’s a way easier solution here.

      1. Pennyworth*

        In my younger and wilder years I used to prevent hangovers by putting a tube of fizzy B vitamins and two huge glasses of water by my bed before I went out, ready for when I rolled home. Worked a treat.

        1. KaciHall*

          My generation in my dad’s family is much less hippie than the previous generation. Our excesses were mostly alcohol. When I turned 20 my cousin told me the Golden rule of our family and drinking – a glass of water between every single drink. This has probably been the single best advice ever given in the family. (Her dad’s advice to try most drugs ‘at least once’ while you were in a safe place and trusted your dealer, but to never ever do heroin or cocaine, is my favorite; mainly because I was already prepared to not listen to my hippie uncle. I mean, he was half right. He would’ve LOVED this service.)

      2. Wintermute*

        it’s an open question what causes hangovers– dehydration is one possible culprit but doesn’t seem to explain the full picture. The buildup of alcohol metabolites (namely acetaldehydes) is another strong candidate, as is the fact that ethanol is a neurochemical sledgehammer, affecting more than half the neurotransmitter systems in your brain, and giving a finely-tuned physiological system a smack with a sledgehammer isn’t going to be consequence-free.

      3. Burger Bob*

        But then you don’t get to feel like a super special awesome doctor with access to super special awesome med stuff.

    4. anonymous73*

      Nothing cures a hangover except time (and maybe some OTC headache meds). Your friends are lying to themselves. And dehydration is not the only symptom of a hangover.

      1. Xenia*

        Not the only, sure, but it’s a big reason why people feel lousy after drinking too much, and why coffee alone doesn’t help. Alcohol is a diuretic (pulls water into your digestions system) and so is caffeine. Dehydration is a big contributor to the hangover headache and general ‘blah’ feeling you get. Drinking slowly and interspersing alcohol with plenty of water help with feeling bad, but IVs are about as good a way to get rehydrated as there is.

    5. Esmeralda*

      Wow. I hope your friend and his buddies are not responsible for the medical care of anyone I care about.

      1. ShinyDuck*

        I know a LOT of doctors and this is a pretty common thing, at least during the med school years

    6. bunniferous*

      It’s absolutely a thing. I live in a military town and I have heard rumors about Army medics providing this “service” to fellow soldiers. I doubt it’s widespread but I’m pretty sure it actually happens.

    7. the cat's ass*

      this is a thing; my grad class in nursing school went out and really tied one on before graduation and the one woman who passed out and was taken to the ER and got 3 liters of IV fluids was the only one not hungover the next day.

    8. MsSolo (UK)*

      My dad used to party with nurses back in the 80s (flat share – he was real estate), and apparently it was all about taking hits of oxygen the next day to get over a hangover back then.

      (medical staff party hard. They used to send him down to the morgue in one of their uniforms to get ice for them)

  4. stefanielaine*

    This is a plot point on Billions, so I assume that’s where they got the (very bad for most jobs) idea!

    1. Hills to Die On*

      I was coming to see if anyone was going to say that! Axe Capital did that for the whole office once. I suppose if you work a cutthroat brokerage shop it’s okay…

    2. CoveredinBees*

      No, sadly, this has been around for a while. They often also offer various vitamin drips and vitamin B12 shots. I remember it being a minor plotline in an episode of Studio 60 and I’d heard of it by then.

  5. Alex*

    I’ve seen these kinds of services being offered as general “wellness” services, akin to those recreational colon hoses or what have you. I can totally see some company jumping on the bandwagon of adding this as an employee wellness initiative.

    Not that I have used these services or really know much about them…

    1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      I don’t know that it was positioning itself as a “wellness” service, but I saw small storefronts offering this once on vacation. I was in Las Vegas at the time, so make of that what you will.

      1. Wintermute*

        I found them in Vegas as well.

        I wasn’t hung over (I don’t drink anymore) and I didn’t go for an IV but for fun I did do 20 minutes of supplemental oxygen at a mall kiosk. It felt… okay, I guess? I just loved the idea of pseudo-medical services for funsies and oxygen is pretty benign stuff.

        They even had different scents/”flavors” you could swap the humidifier bubbler that was conditioning the oxygen stream to, I found the peppermint and the pine tree very invigorating, even if the pine was a little too reminiscent of the world’s most aggressive bathroom deodorizer being delivered directly into my sinuses The pina colada was okay, and the others left very little impression on me– because I can’t even remember them!

        I did my 20 minutes hanging out and people watching while on supplemental oxygen and I enjoyed myself. They even let me take the nasal cannula home as a souvenier (I mean they can’t exactly re-use it for obvious reasons).

    2. Jamboree*

      Not going to Google “recreational colon hoses.” Said in my best GHWBush voice. Not gonna do it.

  6. A Simple Narwhal*

    Welcome back WTF Wednesday, I feel like it’s been a while!

    (Though admittedly my sensor is a little skewed after these last few years, but this is a letter that truly made me say WTF.)

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Internet theory: 2020 was a case of time travelers who kept trying to fix something and thereby created a new crisis, which they would then time travel back to fix, on endless repeat.

      … Remember murder hornets?

      1. Avery*

        I’ve heard similar theories about the world being so weird because of changes in 2016 (aside entirely from politics, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in over a century, and I remember tumblr having several other “2016 is the weirdest year” examples at the time) or 2012 (because something something Mayan curse).
        I think the reality is that the world’s just getting weirder over time because more is happening, and/or the weirdness is better-known because communication is better. But admittedly that’s a lot less fun than “a time traveler screwed up 2020” or “the world was supposed to end in 2012 and they’re running out of good material”.

        1. ThatGirl*

          My personal theory is that the Cubs were SUPPOSED to win in 2015 (as per Back to the Future), and didn’t, and that’s what screwed the timeline up.

        2. EvilQueenRegina*

          I remember things doing the rounds about The Flash’s Barry Allen causing 2016 (that character had had a storyline involving changing the timeline around that time).

      2. KoiFeeder*

        Their death rate is about the same as a yellow jacket (adjusting for the fact that Japan does not have the population of the US and that there are a lot of yellow jackets and not a lot of Japanese giant hornets), and we don’t call yellow jackets murder wasps. Or at least, calling yellow jackets murder wasps hasn’t caught on over two years of me pointing this out, but I’m still going to keep this train going.

          1. Pippa K*

            This is why I am now the sworn enemy of the yellowjacket. When they do sting people, it’s really unpleasant, but they threaten my bees and we are at war.

  7. François Caron*

    IV fluids are water with maybe a bit of salt and sugar.

    The reason you have a hangover is because your liver is sucking water from your body to process the alcohol including sucking the water from your brain. Your brain shrinks and the tendons holding your brain to your skull get stretched out, causing the hangover pain.

    Just drink more water.

      1. Olivia Oil*

        I think the advice was meant for before you get to the point of being hungover/throwing up. If you’re throwing up you should stay home. Also I don’t think being hungover always entails throwing up?

    1. Dust Bunny*

      IV fluids are isotonic saline, so definitely yes to the salt. They would burst your blood cells if they were water.

    2. Anonymous for this*

      I’m surprised that that I had to scroll down so far to see this comment. This “treatment” is so inefficient and a total waste of money. Also, headache, nausea and other ill effects of hangover are due to acetaldehyde (toxic substance which is produced when the body breaks down the alcohol) and IV’s do not help to get rid of it.

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        I would think that the way the body eliminates toxic metabolites is by dissolving them in water so the blood can carry them to the kidneys to be filtered out and excreted.

        If so, IVs can help the process along. So can drinking, if the patient can avoid vomiting.

    3. Olivia Oil*

      I was wondering this. I drink regularly and never get hangovers because I: 1) drink in moderation and 2) drink a lot of water in between drinks. Idk how so many fail to do this. It’s also cheaper!

  8. Sharkie*

    I mean, in my industry, this service coming to the office ( Especially the morning after a championship or playoffs) would not turn heads. But a normal job? NOPE. HUGE red flags

      1. I'm just here for the cats*

        Not everyone experiences hangovers the same way. Many do not get so sick you vomit. If they did I really don’t want them coming into the office, regardless of hangover IV or not.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          I never vomited from booze, even in my ill-spent youth. I occasionally blacked out, but no vomit. Curiously, also no hangover, in the classic form. I wasn’t at my best the next morning, but no headache. I mostly tell y’all this so you will hate me. I have no idea if I could do that today. I haven’t gotten anything like that wasted since the 1990s.

          1. Kimmy Schmidt*

            I’m the exact opposite. Total lightweight, so I’m sick long before I experience effects like memory loss, blacking out, or any of the wildly wacky drunk stories you sometimes hear about.

        2. Zephy*

          The only hangover I’ve ever had, I was so sick I couldn’t keep anything down for most of the day. There probably is space between “drank alcohol and was not hungover the next day” and that, but now that I’m in my thirties I’m loath to find out exactly where the line is anymore.

        1. Justin*

          This is absolutely true, however, if you’re hungover at all you probably shouldn’t work either.

          So we’re talking about a person who is hungover but only needs to drink water, sure.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          Reminds me of when people are feeling GREAT after the general anesthesia for their early morning out-patient surgery, and they come on into work for the afternoon and type ALL THE EMAILS until their boss gently wrestles away the keyboard and informs them that Alex will be driving you home, and you need to stay there the next two days and not do the emails.

          “I’m so hungover I can’t sip water, but never fear, simultaneously revving up the forklift and rewriting the Langdon Files as we speak…”

          1. KoiFeeder*

            To be fair, I really did feel great after all of my surgeries. I was so ready to type those emails, you would not believe.

            1. quill*

              After fillings I always trick myself into thinking my face WON’T swell up like a blowfish and I definitely can go to a bunch of meetings the same day…

            2. Azure Jane Lunatic*

              I somehow managed to escape breaking any major bones as a kid, so my first encounter with serious business opiates was after a semi-emergency wisdom tooth extraction — right before the big work potluck. I knew I shouldn’t drive after the meds kicked in, so I drove home with half my face numb, stopping at the pharmacy on the corner to drop off the prescription. I parked in my spot, grabbed my potluck dish, walked to the pharmacy, picked up the prescription and took the first pill, and walked the rest of the way to work.

              Apparently I spent most of the potluck smiling very sweetly at everyone and sitting in the corner, drinking mountain dew between icing my face. Fortunately I couldn’t really talk, and my roommate showed up in order to walk me home.

              I think it was the tooth after that when I discovered that when I’m not completely incapacitated by the pills, they act enough like a truth serum on me that I should not be sending business communications. I was being extremely honest about what the engineers must be feeling during the downtime when the support manager noticed me.

          2. Cedrus Libani*

            My senior year of high school, I’d already gotten enough absences that the school didn’t have to let me graduate, and so I decided to come in after an early-morning outpatient surgery. Pass the Vicodin, I’m totally OK. When I got there, AP Government exam. I’d been to that class maybe once in the previous three weeks, so I had no idea it was coming. The exam was on the Senate and its protocols, and I was pretty sure it had some protocols, but no idea what they might be. I felt great, though! And I saw a pile of scantron sheets, so it was a multiple-choice test, which I could easily bluff my way though…right?

            This teacher was a first-year BigLaw refugee, who insisted on treating us like Harvard Law students instead of quasi-adults with truly astonishing levels of senioritis. This lunatic had sourced eight-bubble scantron sheets, which allowed him to write an answer bank with 255 choices (from A to ABCDEFGH), any of which might belong to any of the questions.

            I did not pass that exam. I also bled on it a little. And I learned a lesson: if it’s serious enough to require the good stuff, it’s serious enough to require a day off!

      2. anonymous73*

        If you’re so hungover you can’t do anything but vomit all day, stay TF home. I hate to break it to you, but an IV doesn’t cure a hangover.

      3. gmg22*

        I’ll admit I had my share of hangovers in my college years through to my early 30s. But only on rare occasion did I ever get so drunk that the next day I couldn’t at least keep down small sips of plain water. (OK, or failing that, Gatorade or ginger ale — sometimes the bubbles do help.) And those rare occasions involved fairly over-the-top stuff — punch with Everclear in it, multiple shots of different kinds of booze, etc etc.

        If there are enough people getting this wasted on the regular and making use of this service often enough for it to turn a profit … that suggests a pretty disturbing big picture of adult drinking habits, I’m just sayin.

      4. ArtK*

        You drink the water *before* you get blotto. You drink water *while* you’re drinking the alcohol. That way, you don’t end up with a hangover in the 1st place.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*


          Back in my younger days I drank a lot. Always somewhere safe where I could go a short distance and sleep it off. My key to avoiding hangovers was:
          a) Pace myself. Don’t drink too much too fast.
          b) Eat something before and during. Protein before, salt goodness during.
          c) Alternate booze and not booze. Think scotch with water back.
          d) Don’t drink until I puke.
          e) Avoid sugary mixed drinks. Not sure why but sweet drinks made me feel worse.
          f) Start the next morning with orange juice or some other hydrating liquid, then have coffee.

          YMMV, of course. Now I barely drink at all. I got it out of my system in my 20s.

        2. Bagpuss*

          Also you drink after the alcohol and before you sleep – I agree on pacing yourself and drinking water / non-alcoholic drinks between the alcoholic ones, but a pint of so of water just before you go to sleep can be helpful too.

          (I recall when I was in my first year at University my friends became curious about what I would be like if I got drunk, so plied me with booze to find out. (The answer was that I get very sleepy, mostly!) . They made me drink 2 pints of water and take a couple of paracetamol before going to sleep, and I woke up then et day with no hangover, but I am sure that being 19 and physically fit played a fairly big role, as well as the water!)

      5. Bagpuss*

        I’ve never had a hangover that meant I couldn’t keep liquids down.

        I am sure that different people get varying effects and presumably it also depends on how drunk you were / are.

        I have, (in my misspent youth) once or twice got drunk enough to have thrown up but it was at the being drunk stage, not the being hungover stage, and even then not so bad that I couldn’t keep water down.

        I wonder how much is due to different metabolisms and how much to thinks such as how people drink (I would guess that, as there is a time lag between when you drink and when the effects kick in, someone drinking a lot of spirits in a short space of time might drink enough to result in really severe effects, and have drunk enough to have that effect before the earlier effects kick in, whereas someone drinking more slowly will get the effects of nausea /sleepiness / passing out before they’ve drunk enough to result in the other effects/

  9. ThatGirl*

    We went to Key West last summer, and after we got off the plane I went to the bathroom in the tiny little airport terminal. On the back of the stall door was an ad for a hangover-recovery IV service that would be glad to come to your hotel. At least that’s for tourists, on vacation, in a party hotspot, though!

    1. Low Stakes OP*

      I mean I did get desperately sick in Key West but it wasn’t mojitos it was a bad reaction to Conch. An IV on the cruise ship might have been nice though…

  10. Still Queer, Still Here*

    Ok but to they do iron infusions for us chronically iron-deficient anemics? I have to get a 6-hour long iron infusion every 3-4 months (forever) and generally have to take a sick day for it because even when I’ve tried to bring my laptop and get work done, it’s really awkward to be on Zoom meetings or whatever in the chemotherapy/infusion room. Especially when you’re 30 and seemingly healthy. It would be really nice to just schedule them to come do it in my office, though. For the most part it is just set it up and leave for 4-6 hours while it does its thing. Just saying…

    1. lost academic*

      The medical spa places probably can’t but there are similar services run by essentially traveling nurses/home health aides.

    2. The Katie*

      I’m about to start a course of infusions, and the people providing them are apparently able to come to your work if needed. Not an option for me, but it’s a thing.

      1. Still Queer, Still Here*

        My therapist mentioned recently that it is a thing in the chronic illness circles (she specializes in that community, though that’s not really why I see her), but I haven’t been able to convince my insurance to cover it yet. I’m having a surgery soon that may make it more apparent that it’s necessary, so we’ll see!

      2. Atlantic Toast Conference*

        Can confirm— I get infusions for a chronic illness. The nurse comes to my house (I schedule it for a telework day), but for some other patients she goes to their office.

  11. Anonariffic*

    I’m now anticipating the future letter where a WFH coworker starts showing up on video meetings with a poorly-hidden IV pole in the background, the office gossip convinces everyone else that he must be dying of cancer and is nobly soldiering on without saying everything and we should all do some kind of big fundraiser/donation campaign, and when a perplexed Fergus is ultimately presented with the oversize check it turns out that he’s just been partying hard every weekend and getting regular hangover IVs.

  12. no longer working*

    I’m guessing you sit in the mobile unit while the IV is administered on your lunch hour or morning break…. not that you are connected to an IV at your desk!

    1. EPLawyer*

      Oh whew. I just pictured people working at their desks connected to IVs. not something I want to see in the workplace. Just no.

  13. TCHR*

    As someone who suffered terribly with morning (all day!) sickness while pregnant with both my kids for the first and second trimester and needed IV fluids every week to two weeks at urgent care this would have been great so I could get back to work and not miss hours! Would I have actually done it at work probably not! I couldn’t even keep water down some days. Ugh.

    1. Usagi*

      That’s actually an interesting idea! Maybe you can pre-pay before the marathon, and then once you cross the finish line, you can just collapse into their tent and they’d hook you up.

      I mean, I know nothing about the legal/medical/whatever implications, but that does sound like something that would be useful.

    2. CanadianNarwhal*

      The way to get IV fluids after a marathon is to collapse and take an ambulance to the ER ;) Not really recommended, though. (Source, this happened to my husband in Vegas. He was fine after a few hours in the ER, and thankfully our travel insurance from Canada covered everything).

  14. I'm just here for the cats*

    The only way this would be ok is if you worked from home!

    I’m really curious about this. I wonder do they have like a mobile clinic where you could just sit in their van at lunch or do they actually come into the office at your desk?

    I could MAYBE see the van, especially if it was discreet and parked around the corner from the office. But I couldn’t imagine coming into someone’s office as they are hooked up to an IV!

    1. OhNo*

      I was wondering the same thing! If they actually came into the building to hook you up, that would be way too weird to contemplate. But a discreet van in the parking lot… would also be weird, but at least less obviously so.

    2. Wintermute*

      I can’t speak for all of them but the one I’m aware of would do hotel rooms and other private spaces but said they required a private, quiet area. I found the idea quite entertaining when I was in Las Vegas, but I opted to just do oxygen at a mall kiosk (note: I wasn’t hung over, just did it for fun).

  15. birb*

    Not my cup of tea, but I can definitely see some industries where people are super into nootropics / anything to give them a mental advantage being into this, or possibly people who have to take long flights across time zones.

    Some people probably also see this as a form of pampering or self care, too!

    1. sb51*

      Yeah, as an endurance athlete who can’t always keep up with the amount of water needed on hot days, honestly an IV sounds delightful compared to choking down glass after glass post-event while feeling sloshy and wishing I had that stomach room back to pile some more calories in (since I also can’t keep up with the calorie burn either.)

      The only time I’ve ever had an IV was before surgery that had a pretty late slot—by IV time I hadn’t had food or fluids in almost 20 hours and was dehydrated and feeling awful; I could actually feel the IV rebalancing me, it felt wonderful.

  16. justpeachy86*

    Hear me out… can toxic positivity OP from earlier today schedule an IV drip at the office and just label the bag “SPARKLE JUICE”. Tell Jim to come back later after her sparkle infusion is done.

    1. I AM Sparkling }:(*

      No, give Jim the sparkle juice at a very slow drip rate, to keep him out of that letter writer’s hair for a while.

      I’m picturing sparkle juice as an IV bag with a bunch of Lisa Frank stickers all over it and a label written in glitter pen, and it’s making me giggle.

    2. Low Stakes OP*

      If we’re bringing in old letters- how about the bananas 100 hour week investment bankers. Bet they’d like this “service” too

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Ha, yes! One level up from soylent. “Our employees don’t have to remove their fingers from the keyboard to eat or drink; the IV service hooks them right up to all the nutrients they need to fuel their 16-hr work day.”

  17. Falling Diphthong*

    If I squint hard, I could see a start-up “We work hard, we play hard–we do IV fluids at our desks!” Like on Mad Men when the partner’s doctor came to give the employees “vitamin injections” for the big late night push.

    I’ve gotta think the group of people who think being attached to an IV bag is a career positive is very small. And of those, you’re after the subset who will let some stranger unrelated to their doctors come and stick stuff into them.

  18. Construction Safety*

    My son is in food & beverage. A bunch of hard partiers there. They swear by the elixir and the supplier is in the same development as the restaurant.

  19. Grey Panther*

    Many years ago I worked in an industry which shall remain nameless here but was well known at the time for hard work and hard partying. It was not unusual for many of the guys (and it was all guys, then) that I worked with to show up hung over on a weekday.

    Instead of reaching for the coffeepot or Alka-Seltzer, my coworkers would down a couple bottles of Pepsi or Coke; Seven-Up was the choice for those who didn’t like caffeine drinks. It was an amazingly effective restorative for the over-served.

    I was told that the sugary, carbonated drink quickly replaced the blood sugar that had been destroyed by too close an encounter with the Jim Beam and/or the Beefeater man, for instance.

    I have no idea whether the science was correct but anecdotally, it worked to the point that part of our regular office supplies order included a couple of cases of (non-diet, of course) soft drinks.

    1. Avery*

      Not exactly the same thing, but when I passed out after giving blood on an empty stomach in college the paramedics had me drink non-diet soft drinks. Sugar and liquid will perk you up, and it makes sense that it’d fit those circumstances as well.

    2. voluptuousfire*

      That makes sense. My mom was a T1 diabetic and her low blood sugar episodes could mimic a hangover–headache, tired, dehydrated, etc. Give her some regular soda and some candy (if it was particularly bad) and it worked like a charm to get her to feel normal again.

    3. Grey Panther*

      Happy to hear that others have used the soft-drink hangover cure too. And I have no problem with needles, but if I have that kind of headache and need to choose between an IV and popping the top on a Pepsi? I’ll take the Pepsi every time!

  20. EmmaPoet*

    I know pararescue practice their IV skills on each other, but outside of them and paramedics, this doesn’t seem to be a great idea for an office space.

    1. Zephy*

      A lot of healthcare disciplines practice IV placement on each other, even if they won’t normally need to place IVs. My husband is in training for x-ray, he and his classmates will be poking holes in one another at some point in their last couple of semesters. The rad tech is not usually (read: basically never) the person responsible for placing an IV, but it’s good for them to be familiar with the techniques and able to step in and help if needed, especially if they end up working in an ER or busy hospital as opposed to a standalone outpatient imaging clinic, is the rationale his program gave.

      I agree that people with desk jobs don’t need to be getting (or giving) IVs at work, though, that part would still be over the line. Maybe if people who wanted whatever was being offered had somewhere private to sit and receive the fluids, like the opposite of the Big Red Bus for blood donation.

      1. Bagpuss*

        I think whether or not you bruise depends on a whole lot of things. I give blood regularly and normally don’t bruise, but I have got bruises sometimes, when I ‘ve had an inexperienced technician or just been unlucky, for instance. I’d imagine that things like how ‘good’ your veins are, how experienced the tech is, how much you move while it is in, etc. must all make a difference.

        I did have a bruise the last time I had to have an IV but it was in an emergency situation and I suspect very difficult to get in, so I wouldn’t assume that hat it would be same if done in more favourable / controlled circumstances!

        And perhaps someone who is so hungover they was IV rehydration would see a bruise as a small price to pay!

    2. HBJ*

      My college friend practiced doing them on himself. It was like a party trick. He offered to demonstrate on others. No one took him up on it. It was kind of tricky to do it one handed, and I remember his hands shaking toward the end!

  21. Aarti*

    I admit, I have almost never been hungover. But I have had an IV. It’s not exactly a pleasant experience. I am amazed at people who do these things voluntarily.

  22. I AM Sparkling }:(*

    Call me a buzzkill, but I don’t think people should be getting so hammered on work nights that they need the Magic Hangover Cure IV to function the next day.

  23. LDN Layabout*

    Just an FYI for those considering these sorts of services, they’re usually either unregulated or very poorly regulated and the consequences for when things go wrong are not worth the arguably non existent benefits.

    1. Pickwick Picninc*

      Oh that’s too bad. My mother recently had a surgery and had a lot of trouble recovering, including almost a week of vomiting and unable to keep anything down. She had to go back into the hospital to get IV fluids to rehydrate, and as she’s looking at another surgery in a month or two I was thinking of recommending she book one of these services so that she doesn’t have to go back to the hospital or possibly wait so long (calling the doctor, waiting to hear back, trying to schedule with the hospital, etc.) I was also considering booking one after a recent bout with a stomach bug, to get me back on my feet a little faster. Seems like a really good use for this service and the one in my area appears to be run by actual nurse practitioners, but now I’m wondering if it’s really a good idea?

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          Yeah, my dad had home IV fluids his first few weeks home after heart surgery, overseen by a visiting nurse as part of his hospital discharge plan. (He wanted to go home rather than to a nursing facility, and I was living there at the time and could keep an eye on him, so they set him up with a nurse who did home visits and some extra monitoring.) Something scheduled through that kind of hospital/nursing care system is likely to be a lot more regulated than hangover IV people would be. The hangover IV people reminds me of those “pictures of the baby” non-medical 3D ultrasound places that were totally unequipped to do any diagnosing, just keepsake pictures. (I have no idea if those still exist, but they were a thing a decade or so ago.)

          1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

            I think his was some medicine that needed to be given by IV rather than just rehydration? I am somewhat fuzzy on the details since this was a few years back.

  24. zebra*

    I have definitely had some days where I probably could have used this, although none really anymore these days. But if I’m dumb enough to drink that much on a work night, I’m probably too dumb to pre-plan my hangover IV in advance, so I don’t think I’d be able to take advantage of this!

  25. Old cynic*

    I have a vacation home in a small community and there is just one paramedic associated with the volunteer fire department. He’ll often tell people at parties that he’ll give them IV fluids the next day if needed for hangover.

  26. RJ*

    A doctor that I follow on YouTube reviewed getting IV fluids for a hangover when this plot device was used on Grey’s Anatomy years back. She called it a very, very bad idea and I have seen people who take my yoga classes suffer from skin infections due to these IVs being badly used. Hard pass on this for me.

    1. Bob-White of the Glen*

      Wait, you mean there are bad decisions on Grey’s Anatomy? Surely not managerial decisions?! (:D)

  27. Cat Lady in the Mountains*

    Ahahaha I’ve been seeing ads all over the place for a local clinic that offers this in my area. It shocked/horrified me too!

  28. Daisy-dog*

    I have heard that for a certain industry, during conferences it is a common site to see attendees hooked up to IVs in the morning.

    Someone I went to college with works at a resort hotel and they offer IVs as an add-on service – I guess for people who overdo it one night and don’t want to ruin the rest of their vacation.

  29. nnn*

    I feel like if they come to you, it would be better to have them come to your home first thing in the morning and administer the IV before you even get out of bed. Surely it would be easier and more pleasant to eliminate the hangover first and then get out of bed, as opposed to having to get out of bed, get dressed and looking professional, and commute to work all with a hangover.

  30. OuthereinUSA*

    In my city, a service can come to you same day, and I have used it for food poisoning recovery, and another time for a kidney infection when I was having trouble getting enough fluids. It was great, and cheaper and more convenient than going to the ER or Urgent Care. However, I wouldn’t have it done at work! I WFH and still had them come after my work hours.

  31. A Good Egg*

    There was a Robin Cook novel where the protagonist, a doctor, gave himself an IV to overcome a nasty cold. His actions hurt him later in the story.

  32. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    Just breathe pure oxygen for an hour the night before to burn off the alcohol before you go to bed. Problem solved!

    (do not do this)
    (I am not a doctor)
    (Seriously, do not do this)

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Again, DO NOT DO THIS!
        Smoking + oxygen delivery = excellent way to be blown straight into The Next World.
        Sorta like smoking while refueling a combustion engine vehicle. Not. Wise.

        1. JustaTech*

          One day I was walking down my street when I spotted my neighbors sitting on their front step having a smoke. OK, fine, no big deal. Then I noticed that one of them was also using an oxygen tank.

          While smoking.

          I ran all the way home.
          (They did not blow up or burn down their house, I don’t know how.)

  33. L-squared*

    I guess I should be surprised by the pearl clutching going on here, but I’m not.

    If someone doesn’t want to do it, by all means don’t. But acting like doing this is some crazy idea is a bit much. Like, places in vegas advertise this service all the time. Many people have had a bit too much fun the night before. If I could go downstairs, grab an IV for 20 minutes as opposed to a “coffee break”, what is the problem?

    1. Huh*

      Totally agree. Pearl clutching over the hangover part, and a lot of ableism for dismissing it for illnesses/injuries.

      1. Low Stakes OP*

        My concern was bringing the recreational part into the workplace. Not actual medics necessity or even recreation you keep private.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I mean, showing up severely hung over at work isn’t going to do one’s professional reputation any favors, regardless. The IV service isn’t the issue.

    2. JustaTech*

      Here’s my issue with these services.
      In my work (biotech) we use the same IV bags as hospitals and clinics and these semi-recreational IV’s (like the ones with every vitamin under the sun). When there is a shortage of saline (because of manufacturing issues), the places that do the vitamin infusions get precedence over places like mine, where we are making cancer treatments. Real, backed by FDA and actual data, cancer treatments.

      That’s why I don’t like these places. There’s no hard data on the value (for hangovers, for “wellness”, for migraines or HG or anything else), but they still get dibs on medical materials over places that do have actual data. If it’s as great as the advertising claims, do the studies and prove it.

      Oh, and do it safely. Sharps containers, biohazard, appropriate medical history, the lot. Blood borne pathogens are nothing to mess around with.

  34. Lab Boss*

    But will it work??? It’ll help with the dehydration, but that’s only the first of the four major issues that cause hangovers (although probably the biggest single one). Second, that excess urination that happens while you’re drinking doesn’t just dehydrate you, it also flushes electrolytes out of your system and that imbalance makes you feel sick (which straight saline can’t help- it’s why you should drink Gatorade rather than just water). Third, one of the breakdown products from alcohol is acetaldehyde- it’s toxic and inflammatory and makes you feel gross (interestingly, drinking MORE alcohol can revert some of the acetaldehyde into alcohol, making you feel more drunk and less hungover, for a little while- “hair of the dog” isn’t just a myth). Fourth and finally, alcohol interferes with sleep, and there’s no quick fix for a short night of bad sleep.

    For this information in a catchier form I suggest listening to “A Biologist’s St. Patrick’s Day Song” on YouTube. Yay science!

  35. Sled dog mama*

    I once had a coworker get an IV at work. She had ulcerative colitis and was not in a good way. We also worked in an infusion center so it was a little less strange.

  36. CeeKee*

    A lot of these companies pivoted to concierge covid testing during the pandemic, since they already had infrastructure set up and clinicians on-staff (and I’m sure also because the demand for post-party hangover treatments went way down). It was a pretty clever adaptation on their part. So I wonder if they’re just trying to figure out ways to maintain their covid boom as we starting looking toward a post-pandemic world? Sort of like “remember us? We can still come to your office!”

  37. Isabelle*

    This is a common treatment in some countries (Japan for example). They give you IV fluids for some minor ailments like a cold. I guess someone spotted a gap in the market.

  38. Prof Space Cadet*

    I saw that one of these services had a kiosk-type area in a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip when I was there last summer. Clearly, they’re targeting tourists, but I suppose there’s nothing stopping someone who works in the area from utilizing their services. (Didn’t bother to see how much it costs, since I rarely drink anymore).

  39. quill*

    *Screams in biosafety protocols*

    Look, I just do NOT believe that an idea this medically harebrained is going to have anybody properly trained to insert an IV.

    1. quill*

      (It’s primarily the “we will come to your office with a bag of IV fluid! This is necessary and effective for a hangover!” that’s medically harebrained.)

  40. FG*

    I live in a Major Tourist Party City & these clinics are definitely a thing. But at work? If you work in the entertainment industry where getting hammered is routine … Nah.

  41. Sunny*

    Omg one of my last jobs had an “alternative wellness” company come in advertising this exact thing… I hate needles and at that point couldn’t even hear about IVs without feeling dizzy. I was so weirded out

  42. RG*

    Sawbones did an episode on recreational IV’s in 2019, which by coincidence I was just listening to yesterday, and it seems it is…not recommended.

  43. K*

    True story: at a company that I no longer work for, they booked one of those mobile IV services to come to the office the day after the company holiday party (which was held on a Thursday). And people used it.

  44. Bones*

    I have a few friends who are hard-partying nurses and have confessed that this is a pretty standard thing many of them do to recover from a hangover (and they do it on their shifts, no less). Kind of disconcerting if it’s as widespread as they’ve implied.

    1. NurseFlannery*

      I… no. I cannot fathom a hospital where RNs would get away with doing this ON SHIFT. IV fluids are considered medication at a hospital – requiring a doctor’s prescription. This would be the equivalent of opening up the med machine and taking out pills for yourself – a highly fireable offense.

      1. Bones*

        That was my thinking, as well. It could be possible I misunderstood or they’re flat-out lying (these guys are more acquaintances than friends).

  45. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

    I guess I’m not so shocked — we have mobile blood bank people come to campus (pre pandemic) so if they can make a withdrawal at work, why not allow a …deposit? lol.

    I can see this being not so strange in several industries like others have mentioned — entertainment, sports, construction, manufacturing, warehousing — not just as a hangover cure but also because those jobs can cause regular dehydration from overexertion, heat conditions, or not drinking enough water to compensate. Obviously the BETTER idea is to give people breaks and access to water/gatorade, but once you get into a bad place physically, sometimes that’s just not enough — not desperate enough to go to the ER, but definitely too hot and not drinking enough water. People can be shockingly really bad at gauging their own hydration even if given plenty of opportunity. As long as the IV company has properly trained technicians/RN on site for the treatment, why not? I’m picturing an RV or van type unit that can sit 2-3 people.

    This would definitely be super odd in most white collar jobs unless you live someplace where heat is a big issue.

  46. old curmudgeon*

    An ex-Marine we knew claimed that he and his buddies would get the unit’s medic to administer IV saline solution after particularly spectacular benders as a way to quickly rehydrate.

    Of course, this is also the ex-Marine who used to drink the contents of those glow-sticks to see if his urine would glow in the dark later (it did), so I would describe his judgment as questionable at best.

    1. Dino*

      Chem-sticks!! My brother tried that once but couldn’t get it down. Respect to your ex-Marine acquaintance.

  47. Candi*

    “recreational” IV fluids

    Soooo, what are their hygiene and safety protocols? Because in my reading, when something of this “make yourself healthier with this magic button” ilk comes along, the protocols are often questionable.

  48. learnedthehardway*

    I’ve often thought that it would be nice to have an IV of saline when I get a migraine (often result of getting just very slightly dehydrated). Unfortunately, I can’t plan the things, so I do my best to stay hydrated.

  49. Sad Desk Salad*

    I’ve read about these. Yes, saline drips can be used for viruses and hangovers, but they can also be used by snake oil salesmen to cure you of the curse of extra cash. They’re along the lines of miracle cures like weird shakes, MLM scams, and other “healthy” fads. I would have liked one when I was recovering from COVID, but I don’t think I’d get one at work.

  50. Canuck*

    These Home IV companies do have a pretty good niche business going, in major centres. Las Vegas, I think, they do well – catering to those groups of partiers that want a quick recovery from hangovers.

    Some workplaces, such as bar/restaurant/hospitality, may be totally ok with this. I would think that at most workplaces, this wouldn’t be such a good idea!

  51. NurseFlannery*

    Companies that offer these types of services typically aren’t offering just straight IV fluids; they’re offering an amalgam of IV vitamins that you don’t actually need and that don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny. Some companies offering the service have been taken to task by the FTC for making blatantly false claims about their ability to cure a variety of actual diseases. Here’s just one of many articles discussing the problem:

    1. JustaTech*

      Yes! There have also been people who have died from a reaction to the weird stuff some sketchy clinics put in IVs. There was a woman in California who died of an allergic reaction to curcumin in her IV (a clinic administering this kind of stuff should have have epinephrine on hand but they didn’t/failed to notice she was having a reaction).

  52. Meg*

    Hot tip: use Pedialyte for a hangover. It’s for rehydrating sick kids, but it works just as well on adults.

  53. Trivia*

    I thought these services were pretty mainstream. A good number of high fashion models, Instagram influencers, celebrities etc. use IV vitamin infusion publicly (get the vitamins without the calories, I guess). And the hangover/jetlag thing is really, really common in my experience.

    1. Blueberry Girl*

      I might be living in a rural Alaska bubble, but I don’t think high fashion models and Instagram influencers using something makes it mainstream. Those seem like two pretty out of touch with normal life segments of the human population. Of course, I don’t follow Instagram or Models, so maybe I’m the one out of touch.

  54. RagingADHD*

    Surely they don’t mean they administer it at your desk? That would be ridiculously disruptive.

    If you’re going out to their mobile unit, I don’t see how it’s different to any other personal errand or minor medical appointment-you’re stepping out of the office, and it’s nobody else’s business.

  55. Meow*

    I’m not a doctor and can’t vouch for whether or not it actually helps, but this actually a common treatment for colds in Japan. The difference, however, is you generally take a day off work to go the doctor to get it, and actually rest, instead of trying to pump yourself up to keep working…

  56. Tobias Funke*

    The ones that have popped up around me are similar to the “oxygen bars” that were a thing a few years ago. They are supplements for people with more dollars than sense.

  57. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

    These types of businesses are popping up lots of places, but usually they encounter a lot of problems, because they need healthcare professionals with licenses to prescribe/order and administer fluids, and those healthcare providers can get in some serious trouble if they advertise the wrong way or if they order fluids without a valid medical reason. They are very controversial.

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