2 Major Side Effects Of Hot Water – Think Before You Drink

Medically Reviewed by Jess Wharton, RN
By Ravi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health

The side effects of drinking hot water may make you think twice about using it. Water is a necessity. You can drink chilled or warm water as an alternative to room temperature water.
Unfortunately, drinking hot water does not appear to be very beneficial from a scientific standpoint. It can lead to serious health issues.

This article explains why drinking hot water may be harmful and how to avoid it. Read on.

What Are The Side Effects Of Drinking Hot Water?

1. Hot Water Can Scald

Drinking hot water can cause internal scalding. In one case, a 61-year-old man who drank hot water (estimated at 90o C) experienced laryngopharynx edema. This blocked a part of his respiratory tract, and his breathing deteriorated (1).

Laryngeal burning injuries can occur with the consumption of excessive hot foods, including hot water. The corresponding edema peaks within 6 to 24 hours after the injury.

When hot liquids (like hot water) come in contact with the skin, the cells are damaged by the heat. Extreme heat can also cause extensive damage to the tissue (2).

If the water is boiling or simmering, it can even cause third-degree burns. These can destroy the entire depth of the skin if the water spills over you. It may cause further damage internally (2).

2. May Have More Contaminants

There is little research on this aspect. But hot tap water might contain contaminants. Hot water systems like boilers or tanks have metallic parts. These can corrode and contaminate the water they contain. Hot water can dissolve these contaminants faster than cold water.

Though using hot water from a water filter could be a safer option, there is risk involved. Hot water dissolves the internal material much faster than cold water. This can cause problems in the long run.

Drinking hot water can cause unexpected harm – all of which is physical. If you have the habit of drinking hot water, you must take proper care.

What Precautions Should You Take?

  • First, do not boil the water. There is no need to do this. You will end up waiting for long before it cools down and you can drink it. Boiling can also alter the taste of the water.
  • Instead, you can warm water in a pot. Once you see steam coming off the water, you know it is at the right temperature. You can also use a tea kettle for this purpose.
  • Keep your skin away from the steam. Hot steam can cause a thermal burn.
  • Pour the water into a mug or teacup. Remember to pour the water away, and not towards you. Hold the kettle with a thick towel for added protection.
  • Remember not to overfill the mug. The water may overflow and cause burns.
  • Wait for the water to cool down a bit before you can drink it.
  • Do not use your finger to check the temperature. Your finger can withstand higher temperatures than your mouth. Wait for a while and start with a slow sip.
  • If the temperature is bearable, you can continue sipping. If not, wait for a while.

Hot water is preferred in winters and rainy seasons as it offers relief from the cold. But the side effects of drinking hot water should also be considered. While internal scalding is one of the major side effects of drinking hot water, it also leads to laryngopharynx edema and respiratory tract blockage. Furthermore, hot tap water may contain high amounts of contaminants, which may exert a negative effect on health. However, steaming the water in a pot instead of boiling it and sipping it after it cools down can help reduce the risk of side effects.

References

  1. An adult case of…” Acute Medicine & Surgery, US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Thresholds for thermal damage to normal tissues: An update”, National Library of Medicine.
Was this article helpful?
thumbsupthumbsup
The following two tabs change content below.
Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He has been in the digital media field for over... more

Jess Wharton

(Advanced Dip Nutrition & HPN)
Jess Wharton is Registered Nutritionist based in Auckland, New Zealand. She works with clients around the world to help them... more

LATEST ARTICLES