New Risk for Laptop Users is Toasted Skin Syndrome

People who spend prolonged periods of time studying, reading, or playing games on laptop computers resting on their upper legs could develop “toasted skin syndrome,” a case report shows.Sounds ridiculous, but recent cases suggest it’s no joke.

The “syndrome” consists of a brownish discoloration of the skin caused by prolonged exposure to heat from the computer.

Researchers from Switzerland, reporting in the Nov. 5 issue of Pediatrics, focus on the case of a 12-year-old boy who developed a sponge-patterned discoloration on his left thigh after playing computer games with his laptop resting on his upper legs a few hours per day for several months.

“He recognized that the laptop got hot on the left side,” the researchers write. “However, regardless of that, he did not change its position.”

Other ‘Toasted Skin’ Cases Have Been Reported
The researchers say the boy is the youngest of 10 reported patients with the “laptop-induced dermatosis” since the condition was first described in 2004.

The condition can lead to permanent darkening of the skin, and in rare cases, damage that leads to skin cancers.

The heat that causes the condition originates from a laptop computer’s optical drive, the battery, or the ventilation fan.

The condition, technically called erythema ab igne, has been observed before on the lower legs of patients who worked in front of open fires or coal stoves. It also has been treated in elderly patients who used hot pads and blankets, according to the researchers.

The researchers say mild-to-moderate heat between 109.4 to116.6 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to cause burns. However, 111.2 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to cause toasted skin syndrome.

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

“Computer-induced lesions are typically found on only one leg because the optical drives of laptops are located on the left side,” the authors write. “The computer placed on a lap may completely or partially occlude [obstruct] the ventilation-fan exhaust.”

Looking Ahead:-
“The popularity of laptop computers will likely increase this diagnosis in the future,” the authors write. “Our patient has had only comparatively shortly used his laptop, which indicates that children’s skin is more sensitive to heat.”

The heat effect should be taken into account, the researchers suggest, when computers are purchased for use by children.

They also recommend that laptop computers carry a warning label alerting consumers about possible skin problems the devices can cause. Some major computer makers already do this.

Dr. Kimberly Salkey, who treated the young woman, was stumped until she learned that the student spent about six hours a day working with her computer propped on her lap. The temperature underneath registered 125 degrees.

That case, from 2007, was one of 10 laptop-related cases reported in medical journals in the past six years.

The condition is generally harmless but can cause permanent skin darkening. In very rare cases, it can cause damage leading to skin cancers.

The danger was highlighted by Swiss researchers in an article Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Got a laptop? Don’t use it on your lap for long time.

Or do as the researchers suggest and put a carrying case or heat shield under it.

Resources:
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20018447-10391704.html
http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20101004/laptop-risk-toasted-skin-syndrome
toledo Blade.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *