IV drip treatments being used to prevent sickness, but does that work?

DALLAS -- If you're looking for an extra boost to your immunity system to keep the flu at bay, have you thought about getting a vitamin-infused IV drip?  Typically used to recover from feeling ill due to things such as sickness, hangovers, and jet lag, people have recently been using them as a proactive measure to avoid sickness in the first place.

"If you can maximize your immune system and maximize your hydration, you're going to be less likely to have the effects of whatever ailment is in your vicinity," says Courtney Dunavant, a physicians assistant and injector at It's A Secret Med Spa in Dallas.

But is that merely mental magic, or is it legit?

"It may work on that placebo level," says Dr. Tara Bagen, a family and sports medicine physician, "but it may also work because you are getting the fluids, all the electrolytes that your body may be missing at that point in time."

The drips are primarily for hydration, but adding vitamins can help those who are vitamin-deficient to not just feel but actually be healthier.  Whether or not that can help to ward off illness has not been proven, but Dr. Bagen says it doesn't hurt to try.

"If you have the means to do it, it's worth a shot to feel better."

Those means are not cheap with a typical treatment starting at more than $100, however if you get really sick and have to go to an emergency room you're sure to pay a lot more for an IV there.  While drinking fluids and taking vitamins orally will do a similar job for way less, an IV will do that job faster and more effectively since the hydration is more intense and some vitamins are better-absorbed intravenously.

Before you give an IV treatment a try, consult your doctor as there are some risks and restrictions such as heart and kidney problems and pregnancy.