Resting laptop on legs can damage skin

October 4th, 2010 - 4:47 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 4 (IANS) Beware — people who work with a laptop on their legs can permanently damage their skin.

A medical report has found that placing the devices next to the skin for long periods can lead to “toasted skin syndrome”, an unusual-looking mottled skin condition caused by long-term heat exposure.

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

“He sensed that the laptop got hot on the left side. But he still did not change its position,” said Swiss researchers.

Another case involved a Virginia law student in the US who sought treatment for the mottled discoloration on her leg, according to the journal Paediatrics.

Kimberley Salkey, who treated the young woman, couldn’t work out the source of the problem until she learned the student spent about six hours a day working with her computer propped on her lap. The temperature underneath registered 125 degrees Fahrenheit (52 degrees Celsius).

That case, from 2007, is one of 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.

In very rare cases, it can cause damage leading to skin cancers, said Swiss researchers Andreas Arnold and Peter Itin from the University Hospital Basel.

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