Winter warmers prompt burns warning
A spike in burns admissions caused by old or faulty hot water bottles is once again raising concerns for The Alfred’s specialist burns team.
Greg Parsons and his wife are two of many patients the team has seen with severe burns after the hot water bottle they were using in bed exploded recently.
They were taken to The Alfred for treatment and Greg later experienced further complications. While he did not require skin grafts, he still has a long recovery ahead.
“I’d been using hot water bottles since I was a child but didn’t realise how dangerous they could be when used past their expiry date,” he said.
“In my case, the bottle was sitting between my wife and I and simply split at the seams without any pressure on it.
“If you’ve owned your hot water bottle for more than a year, I’d urge you to replace it because you do not want to go through what I have – it’s incredibly painful.”
Alfred burns surgeon Dane Holden echoed Greg’s sentiments and said severe burns from hot water bottles is a horror situation that plays out each winter.
“The cold weather set in a little earlier this year and we’re already seeing a familiar spike in burns injuries from hot water bottles,” he said.
“These are often extensive, painful injuries which require surgical intervention and long rehabilitation periods.
“They also typically cover a large area of the body and can be incredibly deep burns."
Dr Holden said a few simple steps can help prevent these entirely avoidable injuries.
“Never fill your hot water bottle with boiling water, always hang it up to dry before reusing it, and be sure to replace it every 12 months. These simple practices will go a long way to avoiding putting yourself in danger.”