They are called laptops, right? Well, according to a report released by the medical journal Pediatrics, sitting your computers on your lap could very well cause an ugly rash called Erythema Ab Igne or, more simply, “Toasted Skin Syndrome.” That’s right ladies; all those late nights cramming out that project in boy shorts, sitting on your sofa with your Mac Book on your lap, is no longer a good look. If this is your day to day work regimen, check your thighs twice, they might show a not-so-sexy reddish rash.

Most of us don’t realize that laptops are often above 50 Celsius. Our digital companions can generate heat, and, overtime, with sustained contact to our skin, they can cause a rash.

Medical experts say that Erythema Ab Igne is caused by prolonged exposure to heat or an infrared source. Skin will develop a reticular, pigmented, and sometimes telangiectatic dermatosis. In layman’s terms, skin can show a mild red rash. It has been described as blotchy; sometimes there is a usual redness of the skin on the affected area. Skin and underlying tissue may become thinner, and lesions might surface. Some cases report that the patient experienced mild itchiness and a burning sensation.

And this is no baby’s rash. The authors of the study say that the 10th case of “toasted skin syndrome” has been reported, since the first in 2004. A 12-year-old boy developed Erythema Ab Igne on his left thigh—doctors say it was caused by his laptop.

But Erythema Ab Igne is nothing new. Reports say it used to be common with elderly people, before central heating, back when people would sit really close to fires or electric heaters. People have also developed the rash through use of hot water bottles or heat packs.

Is your laptop overheating on your thighs? There are loads of laptop cooling pads, and laptop stands that can take the heat off your skin a bit. If all else fails, use a toss pillow like we do!


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