Sleeping with a hot water bottle: Plastic surgeon warns of ‘very serious implications’

TikTok user reveals hot water bottle hack for summer

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Speaking to the Swansea Bay University Health Board Jeremy Yarrow said that injuries resulting from water bottle use can cause injuries with serious implications.

Yarrow said: “We see patients throughout the year with burns, not just in the winter as you might expect. Patients also use hot water bottles like a compress to relieve pain.

“Most injuries are caused by bottles bursting or failure of the rubber, particularly if it is old. We also see injuries from prolonged contact with the bottle or part of the bottle cover whilst patients are asleep.

Part of the reason for water bottle related injuries, such as the bag bursting, is down to the material degrading over time.

As it degrades it becomes weaker and less able to contain the hot liquid within.

The danger is that if the bag leaks or bursts when the user is asleep, it could cause serious injuries which can come with said serious complications.

Yarrow continues: “The worst I have seen is when patients use them on areas with impaired sensation such as diabetic feet. That could have very serious implications including amputations.

“I would encourage everyone to follow the safety tips to avoid these preventable injuries”.

Swansea Bay University Health Board lists a number of safety tips to make injuries do not occur.

For example, it is recommended that the water bottle is filled with hot, not boiling, water.

Furthermore, it is essential the stopper is securely screwed on, the bottle is filled to maximum three quarters full, it is wrapped in a towel to prevent direct contact, and that it is not taken to bed.

Before filling the bottle is in use Swansea Bay University recommends frequent examination of the bottle for signs of wear and tear, making sure it is tested to BS1970:2006 standards and to expel all air above the water level before sealing to prevent injury from the escaping steam.

BS1970:2006 is the internationally recognised safety standard for rubber and PVC.

As to how often the water bottle should be changed, Swansea Bay said that the bottle should be replaced “after two years”.

Subsequently, if the bottle is older than this an unnecessary and avoidable risk to the person is being run.

Despite the potential risks, if the steps suggested by the University are taken there is no reason not to continue using the hot water bottle should its use be required or necessitated.

Fortunately, as the days begin to lengthen and warm there will be less use for the hot water bottle as a means of warmth.

Going forward, the onus will be on keeping cool rather than staying warm.

It is important when the temperatures climb into the 20s and potentially 30s to keep hydrated.

Furthermore, if a person lives in a city such as London, it will be important to keep an eye on pollution levels as these can have an impact on the respiratory system during summer as well as the winter.

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