Cara's warning after hot water bottle burst, causing second-degree burns
- Credit: Cara Wilson
A 21-year-old is warning of the dangers of hot water bottles after she suffered horrific burns when the rubber split and boiling liquid oozed all over her leg.
Cara Wilson, from Martlesham Heath, spent a total of 20 hours in hospital after she sustained second-degree burns on most of her left leg and calf.
The third-year criminology student was doing some university work indoors while her family were gardening outside with the door open.
Feeling slightly chilly she filled up a hot water bottle using water from the kettle and put it on her lap, but within minutes she felt a surging pain.
"It felt like my insides had burst or something was going seriously wrong," explained the 21-year-old, who soon realised the rubber of the hot water bottle had split open.
She instantly jumped up and got in a cold shower, before phoning 111 who advised her to go straight to A&E at Ipswich Hospital.
She described being in a lot of pain, but said at first it just looked very red and she did not realise how serious the damage was.
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**GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING BELOW**
She was given gas and air at hospital and had her leg scraped as it had blistered badly. Doctors then dressed the wound.
They told her she had received second-degree burns, despite the water only being on her leg for less than five seconds.
"It's just so dangerous and I didn't ever expect anything like that to happen," said Cara.
"I've always filled up my hot water bottle from the kettle and I am always careful not to spill it on myself, but I never thought the rubber could actually split like that. You would think it would be designed for that not to happen.
"Apparently you shouldn't put boiling water in them, it's supposed to be warm water from the tap, which I had never known."
After Cara was sent home from hospital the wounds continued to blister and she said she was "in agony" and on constant painkillers for over a week.
She then returned to university in Nottingham, where she is in her final weeks of her degree, and decided to visit her GP as she was still in a lot of pain.
They referred her to a burns specialist unit at Nottingham City Hospital, who gave her specific treatment for the burns she had received.
She was treated for about a week and had to apply for extensions for her university work, adding that the pain left her unable to do things due to needing to raise her leg.
She has been left with bright purple scars, but says the pain is nothing like it was at first.
Doctors have told her she cannot have any direct sunlight on her leg for at least a year, meaning she will have to cover up on holidays and wear trousers, while also needing to apply sun cream to the burns even when covered up.
She said: "It's crazy that now for at least a year before I do anything I am going to have to think about what to wear, and if I've got sun cream.
"Even in light sunlight I don't want to risk it burning any more because of how painful it was."
Cara said she doesn't feel emotionally affected by the scars, but understands how it could impact others.
She has been offered psychological support, and now has to treat herself at home by moisturising the scars three times a day and uses anti-scarring creams.
She is urging others to throw out hot water bottles and use dressing gowns or blankets instead, adding: "It's just not worth the risk."