Drinking water is essential. That is a no-brainer. But alternative health advocates have been stressing on the importance of drinking hot water.
There is little scientific evidence suggesting that hot water has benefits. Conversely, drinking it can have some serious side effects.
In this post, we will discuss how drinking hot water might harm you – and what you can do about it.
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 can be soothing. Though it not yet clear how beneficial it can be, it does not cause any inherent harm. You only need to take proper care.
If you have been drinking hot water, please be careful about where you source it from and how you handle it.
Do you drink hot water? Did you experience any of these side effects? Do let us know your thoughts and feedback by leaving a comment in the box below.
- “An adult case of…” Acute Medicine & Surgery, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Burn injury facts” Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.