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Ravinder's call for care with hot water bottles

11 October 2023

A Leicester Royal Infirmary patient is warning the public about the dangers of hot water bottles, after a recent study showed a 100 per cent increase in injuries in just twelve months.


Burns Awareness Day 2023
Burns Awareness Day 2023

Ravinder Jagdev, from Oadby, suffered a serious burn to her arm last winter, after a hot water bottle malfunctioned while she was filling it from a kettle.

She said: “It was getting cold, but I was alone at home and so, instead of putting the heating on, I decided to use a hot water bottle.

“It was about half-full when the boiling water suddenly spurted up out of the bottle. I instinctively pushed it away, but all the water splashed onto my arm. I didn’t know what to do, I was in agony.

“When the ambulance came, I was given pain relief and taken to the Emergency Department at LRI, before being treated by specialist burns nurses. They were lovely. They cleaned up the wounds, bandaged me and advised me on my recovery.”

Ravinder says that she still suffers from flashbacks to her traumatic experience and worries about boiling the kettle. She added: “Please be really careful with hot water bottles. The more people are aware of the potential risks, the better. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else.”

UHL’s lead Consultant for Burns and Plastics Hand surgery, Reena Agarwal, is the senior author of a new analysis of hot water bottle burns regionally, which recorded a doubling of incidents between January - June 2021 and January - June 2022.

Reena said: “We found that most patients were scalded while filling or putting the top on the bottle, or when the bottle burst, which can happen if the bottle is overfilled, sat on, or past its expiry date.”

With hot water bottles cheaply and readily available online, more people are buying them as an alternative to using central heating during the cost-of-living crisis.

“Manufacture dates are often stamped in a small ‘daisy wheel’ on the bottle, and many people are unaware of this information, or that they need to check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how long the bottle will last from manufacture”, explains Reena. “This is usually just two years.”

“Expiry information should be clearly stamped on the hot water bottle, so that people are given this crucial safety information and reminded of it every time they refill the bottle.”

Hot water bottle safety dos and don’ts

Always follow the instructions on the bottle and remember the following safety tips:-

• Allow the boiled water to cool before filling

• Do not fill the bottle to more than two-thirds of its capacity

• Carefully let out the air from the bottle, holding the neck away from you, before putting the stopper on

• Make sure the stopper is screwed on tightly

In the event of an accident, remember -

• COOL the burn for 20 minutes under cool running water.

• CALL for help

• COVER the burn loosely with cling film

On National Burns Awareness day (11 October), the Burns team from the LRI are raising awareness on prevention of burn injuries. The nursing team will be out and about engaging with the general public and at De Montfort University, spreading safety messages and giving burn education advice.

Contact; communications@uhl-tr.nhs.uk