A WOMAN has been left with life-long scars after her hot water bottle EXPLODED.
Laura Beeslee claims she 'felt like she was dying' when her hot water bottle burst while tucked underneath her jeans.
The 31-year-old, who lives in Diss, Norfolk, was suffering with menstrual cramps when she reached for her trusty hot water bottle to help alleviate the pain.
After filling the compress with freshly boiled water, the nursery manager placed it under the waistband of her jeans.
Within ten minutes, Laura felt a strange sensation down her legs and looked down to discover the device had ruptured and its entire contents had spilled all over her.
Screaming in agony, Laura raced to the bathroom to remove her jeans while her 37-year-old partner Adam Rayner began hosing her down.
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Shocking photos show Laura's red-raw burns that required skin grafts – and left her unable to walk.
Laura said: "I was on my period having pains and found medication wasn't helping. So I thought I'd use my hot water bottle and tucked it into the top of my jeans I was wearing at the time.
"I was standing up just tidying the work surfaces and it just burst all of a sudden.
"I've used it before and slept with it and had no issues in the past.
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"There was almost like a numbing sensation but I knew something was wrong.
"I looked down and could see water had gone down my legs and was all over the floor.
"I can't remember much else but apparently I screamed and ran to the bathroom trying to get my jeans off.
"My partner got me in the bath and hosed me down for half an hour.
"I was going in and out of consciousness because the pain was so excruciating.
"I felt like I was going to die. It was a pain like I'd never experienced in my life."
Adam drove Laura to their local hospital where she was then blue-lighted to the burns unit at Bloomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, due to the severity of her injuries.
There, Laura was placed under general anesthetic while medics popped the blisters on the worst affected areas of her thighs and stomach.
She spent the following three days in the intensive care unit before undergoing a skin graft to help rebuild her damaged skin.
Laura said: "They took quite a large amount of my skin from my left thigh and put it on my inner thighs and stomach.
"I wasn't able to walk for a few days – I had to use a zimmer frame.
"It's been four months now and I'm only now being able to walk relatively comfortably.
SAFETY TIPS FOR HOT WATER BOTTLES
Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Ensure your hot water bottle complies with British Safety Standard BS 1970:2021.
Check your hot water bottle for signs of wear, damage and leaks before each use.
Ensure that the stopper screws on and stays in place prior to filling.
Don’t use tap water to fill your hot water bottle as the impurities it contains can cause the rubber to perish more rapidly. Use boiled water that has been allowed to cool for a few minutes.
Do not fill your hot water bottle more than two thirds full.
Ensure excess air is expelled before replacing the stopper.
Always use a cover on your hot water bottle.
Do not sit, lie or put excess pressure on your hot water bottle when it is filled.
Do not allow direct contact with one area of the body for more than 20 minutes.
When not in use, your hot water bottle should be completely drained of water and the stopper removed.
Store away from direct sources of heat or sunlight.
Replace your hot water bottle every two years.
"They said it could take at least two years for my inner thighs to recover but there's likely to be scarring for the rest of my life.
"If we go out for the day, I have to sit down after walking for a little while. I have to moisturise my inner thighs up to six times a day otherwise they become quite tight and I can't move very well.
"It's still swollen now and I still can't wear jeans."
After researching the safety of hot water bottles, Laura found out the recommended amount of time to use one is two years – and was shocked to discover her own device was eight years past the advised use-by date.
She also found out hot water bottles contain a flower symbol at the top, which indicates the date of manufacture.
Laura said. "I didn't even know hot water bottles had an expiry date on them.
"I think we'd worked out it was about eight years out of date when I used it.
"It's quite scary because a lot of people have had the same hot water bottle since they were children.
"Please just check the expiry date, don't use boiling water, use water from the tap, only fill it halfway and be really vigilant.
"I'll never use a hot water bottle for life. If I'm cold now I'll just put an extra layer of clothing on.
"I've got to just live my life with my scars. They're a part of my life now.
"I feel lucky that I can cover up my scars. In a way I'm very fortunate it happened where it happened so I don't have to have it on show all the time."
Janine Evans, an advanced practitioner occupational therapist at the Morriston centre, said: “We’re not saying not to use hot water bottles, we're saying that if you must use them, to ensure to use them safely. It's all about minimising the risk of an accident happening.
DON'T USE BOILING WATER
“Ultimately, people are filling them with boiling water, which they shouldn't be doing. We get patients who sustain a boiling water scald to their hand, as when filling it they miss the bottle and pour the hot water over their hand.
“Also, people are not checking whether the rubber is perished before filling it. And then the hot water either leaks out slowly, or in some cases it explodes.
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“They can be quite big injuries. A lot of people use hot water bottles on their tummies or their lower back for pain relief. So the water can leak onto their groin or buttocks and that can be really painful and uncomfortable as you can imagine.
“If you have any sort of peripheral neuropathy you should be extra cautious. People with diabetes, for example, often use hot water bottles to warm up their feet. But because of their reduced sensation they don't always notice when the hot liquid is leaking out. So the contact time is longer and they sustain more significant injuries.”
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