Laptop computers are named that because they are able to be used on your lap. However, if you do use your laptop on your lap then you may be suffering from a condition called erythema ab igne.
The name â€œlaptop computerâ€ may be creating a false sense of security in some of us. Itâ€™s as though your lap were made to have this piece of hardware nestling upon it. Yet you should not get too sanguine about this most popular of lap accessories since the sporran.
In case you havenâ€™t noticed it, the underside of a laptop is warm, perhaps even hot. In some cases it can reach 50 degrees Celsius. Previous research has suggested this might be a problem for menâ€™s fertility since sperm get out of the kitchen when the heat is on. This latest report however has suggested that laptops might cause a specific type of skin problem.
The researchers found that a 12 year old boy had a rash on his thighs that was traced to his use of a laptop computer on his lap. The phenomenon is known as erythema ab igne, or toasted skin syndrome. It is caused by long term exposure to a heat or infra red source. What happens is that over the time the skin and underlying tissue becomes thinner. There is a blotchy red rash that develops and sometimes there is itchiness or a burning sensation.
Prior to air conditioning it was common the elderly who would either sit very close to a heater or sit with a hot water bottle in their lap.
In the case of a laptop computer the heat source is either the optical drive, the battery, or the ventilation fan. Whatever the case, although the effects in this instance are not long-term, beware the perils of laptop lap.