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Are Hot Water Bottles Bad for You? (2023)

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

Hot water bottles are not bad for you per se. However, they present some risks if not used properly. The most important risks associated with hot water bottle use are burns and skin irritation, known as Erythema ab igne.


This occasionally happens in cases where the hot water bottle is left on the skin for too long or put in direct contact with your skin. If you have any doubts or concerns about the safety of using a hot water bottle, you should consult a health professional.


are hot water bottles bad for you cover image

Hot water bottles have been a popular method of providing warmth and relief from pain for centuries. They are simple to use, inexpensive and can be filled with hot water from a kettle or tap.


Hot water bottles can provide a number of benefits when used correctly. One of the most common uses is for relief from menstrual cramps and muscle aches. The bottle's heat can help relax the muscles and ease pains. In addition, hot water bottles can even help you save energy!


However, as with any form of heat therapy, there are potential risks and concerns about using hot water bottles. In this article, we will explore the potential risks and benefits of using hot water bottles, as well as tips for safe use.


Risks of hot water bottles


hot water bottle rash

#1 Skin rash

A hot water bottle rash, also known as Erythema ab igne, is a skin irritation or injury caused by the prolonged or improper use of a hot water bottle. This can happen if the water in the bottle is too hot, if the bottle is left in direct contact with the skin for too long, or if the bottle is not covered with a protective covering before use.


Symptoms of a hot water bottle rash can include redness, itching, and burning sensations on the skin. In severe cases, blisters or skin breakdown may occur.


How to reduce risks of hot water bottle rash
  • Avoid direct contact between your skin and the hot water bottle: use a hot water bottle cover or towel

  • Use your hot water bottle for a maximum of 15 minutes, then give your skin some rest

  • Discontinue use if any irritation or discomfort occurs

  • If the irritation doesn’t go away, consult your general practitioner before using one


instructions to prevent hot water bottle burns

#2 Burns

Another risk associated with the use of hot water bottles is the risk of burns. This notably happens when the hot water bottle is not filled, sealed, or left on the skin for too long.


Read our article on our golden rules on how to properly use a hot water bottle to prevent burns during use and accidents during the filling process. If you respect the few simple steps to safely filling a hot water bottle, you will be fine.


How to reduce the risks of burns
  • Filling the hot water bottle with water that is no hotter than 176 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius)

  • Check the hot water bottle for leaks or cracks before using it. Do not use the hot water bottle if there are any leaks or cracks (and do not try to fix the leaks yourself!)

  • Use a cover or towel between the hot water bottle and your skin

  • Don’t leave the hot water bottle on the skin for more than 15 minutes at a time


Final thoughts

Hot water bottles can be a safe and effective way to provide warmth and relief from pain, as long as they are used correctly.


In our opinion, their benefits clearly outweigh the risks, which can easily be reduced if you use your hot water bottle well.


To minimize the risks associated with hot water bottles, it is important to:

  • Fill them with water that is no hotter than 176 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius)

  • Check for leaks or cracks before each use

  • Use a cover or towel between the hot water bottle and the skin

  • Not leave the hot water bottle on the skin for more than 15 minutes at a time

If you follow these simple rules, hot water bottles will keep you nice and warm. And cosy!


hot water bottle held in bed



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