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On the Benefits of Hot Water

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On the Benefits of Hot Water

There are few people who would deny that a nice warm bath or soak in a hot tub can be a great way to ease tension and relax muscles, but the benefits of hot water go well beyond a day at the spa.  Hot water offers both physical and psychological benefits that can easily go unnoticed but are essential for those looking to stay healthy and establish a sense of normalcy during disaster relief efforts.

First, we will take a look at just a few of the physical benefits of hot water. In light of the current pandemic, many of us are learning about the benefits of warm water as it relates to hand washing; while warm water isn’t required for proper hand washing, it certainly can be more effective in removing viruses. How?  It’s simple - Warm water (when combined with soap) makes it easier to create the lather needed to break the lipid wall of the virus.  According to Bill Wuest, an associate professor at Emory University who studies disinfectants, "Warm water with soap gets a much better lather, more bubbles. It's an indication that the soap is ... trying to encapsulate the dirt and the bacteria and the viruses in them." (source: CNN Health)

In addition to warm water being useful in bathing and removing viruses and bacteria from the skin, hot water presents additional benefits when cleaning objects used in food consumption and clothing.  When observing heat thresholds for coronavirus, it is clear that hot water is valuable and proven effective for sterilizing and limiting exposure to viruses and bacteria when used to clean laundry and dishes/utensils. More specifically and according to WHO, heat at 56°C kills the SARS coronavirus at around 10,000 units per 15 minutes (quick reduction).  This is especially important in remote areas where power and hot water are limited or not available - Proper cleaning at appropriate temperatures is essential for maintaining health and personal hygiene.

When looking at the psychological benefits offered by hot water, there are a myriad of studies highlighting the role warm water immersion plays in stress reduction and relaxation.  Hot water relaxes the joints while increasing circulation to reduce muscle spasms (source Psychology Today).  Additionally, and as published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in a study entitled Physical and Mental Effects of Bathing: A Randomized Intervention Study, immersion bathing in warm water lowers stress and tension-anxiety, while elevating mood. 

Power Panel has witnessed the benefits of warm water first-hand with the deployment of the Gen-2-O (solar generator) in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria (a Category 5 hurricane) had obliterated electricity and hot water for the majority of the island in 2017.  In the mountain community of Dos Bocas, families had been without hot water for months, being forced to bathe in ice cold mountain water day after day.  As stated by Ben Cook, an on-site volunteer from Crisis Response International, "The people of Dos Bocas live in a mountainous area near a lake, which is their local water source but gets incredibly cold. The villagers would bathe and wash their clothes in water so cold your hands would go numb.”

Once Power Panel’s Gen-2-O arrived, it took just two short hours until Cook and his team had the Gen-2-O running and ready to provide hot water for showers and cooking, as well as enough power to charge cell phones.  The relief for the residents of Dos Bocas was palpable.  Cook stated "These people had been without hot water for months and to see the looks on their faces was priceless."

With the Atlantic Hurricane Season beginning this week, proactive measures and preparations are essential for ensuring that residents on the islands and coastal areas of the Atlantic will have access to electricity and hot water when power outages occur.  As Power Panel experienced in Puerto Rico, such outages can last months, and the challenges children, families and communities face can be devastating and long-lasting.  The Power Panel Gen-2-O is designed to be deployed quickly and provide immediate relief in the form of hot water and electricity that can be used for charging electronics, powering appliances, and providing hot water for cooking, bathing and cleaning – activities that are essential for maintaining health and establishing a sense of normalcy.  The best part… The Gen-2-O is powered by the sun, so electricity and hot water are limitless and continue to be available long after recovery and ready for the next event or hurricane season.