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Laptop hazard identified: Toasted skin syndrome

Jetboogieman

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CHICAGO — People who work with a computer sitting on their lap might want to rethink that habit.

Doing it a lot can lead to "toasted skin syndrome," an unusual-looking mottled skin condition caused by long-term heat exposure, according to medical reports.

In one recent case, a 12-year-old boy developed a sponge-patterned skin discoloration on his left thigh after playing computer games a few hours every day for months.

"He recognized that the laptop got hot on the left side; however, regardless of that, he did not change its position," Swiss researchers report in an article published today in the journal Pediatrics.

Another case involved a Virginia law student who sought treatment for the mottled discoloration on her leg.

Dr. Kimberley Salkey, who treated the young woman, was stumped until she learned the student spent about six hours a day working with her computer propped on her lap. The temperature underneath registered 52 C.

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

The condition also can be caused by overuse of heating pads and other heat sources that usually aren’t hot enough to cause burns. It’s generally harmless but can cause permanent skin darkening. In very rare cases, it can cause damage leading to skin cancers, said the Swiss researchers, Drs. Andreas Arnold and Peter Itin from University Hospital Basel. They do not cite any skin cancer cases linked to laptop use, but suggest, to be safe, placing a carrying case or other heat shield under the laptop if you have to hold it in your lap.

Laptop hazard identified: Toasted skin syndrome - Front - TheChronicleHerald.ca
 

MaggieD

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The Mark

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I thought I heard somewhere that you were supposed to place laptops on a table or something if you were planning to use em' for any length of time...

Which makes me wonder why they're called laptops... :doh

But seriously, wouldn’t using it while it was on your lap get a bit uncomfortable after awhile, even without the heat issue?
 

Hoplite

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It's bad for your laptop as well. Clothing can often block vents that cool the machine down so your risk of overheating your computer is greater.
 

TheGirlNextDoor

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I can't sit in the same position long with a laptop. I'm always moving around. Beats me how anyone could sit in the same position for hours at a time while playing a game to get a 'laptop burn' on their legs, is beyond me. Just the crick in the neck alone.. yikes.
 

Aunt Spiker

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Common sense has left the building.

*Good bye common sense, it was nice having you around for a while but I understand you have other places to visit, people to inspire*
 

Deuce

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Hmm, I should probably get checked out for this condition. Any ladies want to help me out with this?

:drumbeat:
 

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This is a hazard with any heat source: electric blankets, heating pads.
I keep a little electric space heater on the floor next to my computer chair, because I'm always cold, and it feels good to have it blasting on my feet while I sit at my computer.
However, I've pretty much toasted the side of my left ankle and calf with it over the years.
My skin is dark and sort of mottled-looking on the side of my leg.
You can't feel it at the time, but when you sit with your leg six inches away from a space heater day after day for years, it slowly burns your skin.
I'm not sure if it's permanent; don't really care. I'm still not going to quit using my heater. :2razz:
 
S

StacyF

Yup, any heat source can cause this. Good thing I read articles about this. I have a friend who consulted a doctor and thought the doctor was just making up his diagnosis when he told her it was because of the laptop. Probably the most recent risk through too much notebook use to emerge is something called toasted skin syndrome. Toasted skin syndrome is an affliction commonly associated with workers exposed to intense heat. Symptoms contain splotchy discolorations within the affected areas of skin. A young boy who was diagnosed with toasted skin syndrome after habitual video gaming on a laptop drew headlines and warnings that the condition could possibly lead to certain skin cancers.
 

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Personally, I can't imagine why I would sit with a laptop on my lap for hours on end.

It sounds uncomfortable.

Of course, I’m used to my desktops at work and home.

But I would likely put the laptop on a table or something, at the least.

I mean, unless I’m really slouched down in a recliner or some such, the screen would be too close to my face for comfort anyway.
 

Orion

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I never rest my laptop on my... well, lap... or anywhere near my junk. Same with cell phones.
 

Kali

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You really should not sit immobile for any long amount of time as this can also cause blood clots:shock:

I wonder if this toasted skin thing causes cancer:confused:
 

1069

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‘Toasted Skin Syndrome’ to 'Skin Cancer' From Warm Laptop

Wow, I googled "toasted skin syndrome", and the burn on this guy's thigh looks exactly like the one on my calf (from my space heater).

"Skin cancer" is being bandied about, but there have been no cases of skin cancer linked to laptop use, and I'd be surprised if any cases had been linked to toasted skin syndrome at all, given the fact that until the advent of laptops, it was overwhelmingly a condition of the elderly and infirm (and skin cancer is a slow-growing cancer which generally takes years to develop and manifest, and the elderly and infirm do not usually have "years").

I think the "skin cancer" link is more speculative than anything; certainly headline-grabbing, though.
 
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Orion

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‘Toasted Skin Syndrome’ to 'Skin Cancer' From Warm Laptop

Wow, I googled "toasted skin syndrome", and the burn on this guy's thigh looks exactly like the one on my calf (from my space heater).

"Skin cancer" is being bandied about, but there have been no cases of skin cancer linked to laptop use, and I'd be surprised if any cases had been linked to toasted skin syndrome at all, given the fact that until the advent of laptops, it was overwhelmingly a condition of the elderly and infirm (and skin cancer is a slow-growing cancer which generally takes years to develop and manifest, and the elderly and infirm do not usually have "years").

I think the "skin cancer" link is more speculative than anything; certainly headline-grabbing, though.

Skin cancer is a controversial topic, especially when it comes to sun protection. Sun screen use has increased something like 300% in the last 30 years (I forget the exact statistic but the percentage is very high), but skin cancer rates are still climbing almost just as fast. There are claims that the chemical sun screens + the heat exposure which bakes them into your skin are a cause of cancer. I don't claim to know either way, but my strategy on high UV days is to cover up and not be outside during peak times, as opposed to slathering on chemicals.
 

1069

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Skin cancer is a controversial topic, especially when it comes to sun protection. Sun screen use has increased something like 300% in the last 30 years (I forget the exact statistic but the percentage is very high), but skin cancer rates are still climbing almost just as fast. There are claims that the chemical sun screens + the heat exposure which bakes them into your skin are a cause of cancer. I don't claim to know either way, but my strategy on high UV days is to cover up and not be outside during peak times, as opposed to slathering on chemicals.

Yeah, I've never worn sunscreen.
I have pale skin, but it's got an olive-type undertone, and doesn't freckle.
Anyone can get skin cancer, but I don't feel like I've got that really high risk type skin.
The light-eyed, light-haired, freckled, moley, pinky-pale people are at the highest risk.
Also, because of the extremely hot climate I live in, I usually only venture outside after dark, during the warm months. Never felt the need for sunscreen.

I did tan regularly in a bed for about a year when I was younger (a place I worked required it) and I worry about that a little. I know now how dangerous that is. But so far- knock on wood- no problems.
 
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