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Electric Blankets or a Hot Water Bottle?

Winter nights can be very, very cold Ė so cold, in some places, that no matter how many blankets and quilts you put over yourself, you never seem to get any warmer. The solution to the problem, of course, is to snuggle yourself under an electrically heated blanket: just plug it in, and keep warm. Seems easy enough, right? Well, not really. Unfortunately, electric blankets have got something of a negative reputation. As recently as a decade ago, they had a tendency to injure their users, by causing electric shocks, burns or even fires. Older electric fires are still causing thousands of fires a year today, and people who canít feel heat can still be burned even by safer modern electric blankets.

Used carefully, however, electric blankets can be safe, as long as you make sure to buy a new one (never buy one second hand) and check that you are sensitive enough to heat to feel if it gets too hot. You may also consider simply using the electric blanket to warm the bed up before you get into it, but not actually sleeping underneath the electric blanket, instead unplugging and removing it before you go to bed. Make extra sure that the blanket never gets wet, and that you donít use it together with any other blankets. Finally, you should replace the electric blanket every few years, or sooner if it starts to look like it is in bad condition. For many people, though, having to deal with all these risks to use such a simple thing seems too much trouble.

The best and most common alternative to the electric blanket is probably the hot water bottle, as hot water bottles cool down rather than getting warmer over time, and can be fitted with special soft covers to avoid burning you. They are also much cheaper.


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