• Friday, January 27, 2023

HEALTH

Hot water bottles can cause second and third-degree burns, experts warn

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

With the temperatures dropping and heating bills increasing this winter, in the UK, many people may rely on the hot water bottle to keep warm. However, a doctor has issued an urgent warning regarding injuries that can be caused due to this warming appliance.

Though hot water bottles are an effective and economical way to keep warm, they come with health risks, the Mirror reports.

Also, hot water bottle injuries are supposedly quite common. In fact, the Swansea Bay University Health Board treats burns around 30 times a year.

Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, warns that if used incorrectly, hot water bottles can lead to second and third-degree burns which often affect the skin on the legs and groin.

These injuries can reportedly cause muscle and nerve damage, with in turn can impact the ability to walk.

In an earlier report in the Express an NHS doctor, Dr Amir Khan reportedly warned that hot water bottles could also leave you with a skin condition called “erythema ab igne.”

He is quoted as saying, “You can get a rash with hot water bottles if you apply them to your skin for a long period of time.

“I see this quite a lot – it’s got a bit of a posh word; it’s called erythema ab igne or the hot water bottle rash.

“If you put your hot water bottle against your skin, you get this kind of a wavy, red rash on your skin.

“It does fade after time if you take the hot water bottle away but it does look quite serious when you have it.”

Erythema ab igne is reportedly characterised by redness, scarring, and hyperpigmentation at the heat site.

Dr Lee informs that if you are going to use a hot water bottle, you need to ensure it is new, or made from good quality rubber.

You also need to make sure it has a proper seal.

She adds, “Make sure you also use a properly fitted hot water bottle cover.”

Most importantly, boiling water should never be used inside a hot water bottle.

Dr Lee explains, “Fill the hot water bottle with water that is hot – but not boiling. The best thing to do is boil water in the kettle but wait a few minutes for it to cool before using it.

“Don’t fill your hot water bottle with the tap.”

The correct way to fill the bottle is to hold it straight with your fingers and thumb around the neck of the bottle – fill it slowly, preventing hot water from splashing on you.

“Only fill the bottle two-thirds full, then lay the bottle flat on the worktop, keeping the neck end vertical to keep the water inside, and make sure you then expel about one-third of the air in the bottle by pressing down with one hand.

“Screw the cap on tightly so there can be no water leakage,” Dr Lee explains.

Only adults should fill the hot water bottle, and children should not be involved in this task at all, recommends Dr Lee.

She adds, put the hot water bottle in your bed to warm it instead of putting the bottle directly on your body. Also, ensure you don’t leave the bottle in the bed when you’re in it, the doctor warns.

“This is dangerous,” she said.

Dr Lee also advises that you should ensure you “treat your hot water bottle with respect.”

This means, don’t “squeeze it, sit on it, throw it or abuse it in any other way. This is likely to result in the bottle splitting, leaking, or exploding.”

Also, it’s advisable to check whether your hot water bottle follows the British Safety Standard, and has a guarantee against any defects.

The doctor also warns to use a relatively new hot water bottle, as something older than two years old could be hazardous.

This is because rubber disintegrates over time, Dr Lee explains.

Last but not the least, keep your hot water bottle away from the microwave and never try to heat water in it by putting the appliance in the microwave.

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