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Mmm.. toasty!
August 8, 2012 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Toasted Leg Syndrome, or erythema ab igne, is / are a pronounced skin burn, usually on the thighs, that can lead to permanent discoloration and even melanoma. And you can get it from using a laptop - on your lap. One solution: Make your own cooling pad (1, 2). But that won't help you if you toast the undersides on the warmed seat of your fancy car.
posted by Mchelly (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Fancy car, hell. When I was a boy I used to get these from the sun-cooked vinyl front seat of my dad's 1974 Ford Maverick. Yeeeeeeeeeooowtch!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:04 AM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Whenever I use my laptop, I inevitably end up like this.
posted by Fizz at 8:13 AM on August 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is called "fire tartan" in Scotland. People often get it on their legs from sitting too close to gas fires over winter, particularly in council housing that doesn't have central heating.
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 8:13 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I came in here to say what Ice Cream Socialist said. Cloth seats please, at least in parts of the country that regularly get triple-digit temperatures. (Yes, I put up the windshield screen, but sometimes the sun is coming from the wrong angle.)
posted by immlass at 8:19 AM on August 8, 2012


It's a good thing I don't use computers.
posted by NationalKato at 8:20 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Uninstall or block Flash on your computer, and you'll be fine.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:42 AM on August 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Aw, I think having a warm laptop in my lap feels nice. Now I have to worry about permanently disfiguring my junk? Boo.

Also: what about cats? Is it still OK to have a warm cat in one's lap?
posted by Scientist at 8:57 AM on August 8, 2012


Playing Minecraft was what it took to get me off the couch...and over to the dining table.
posted by echo target at 9:08 AM on August 8, 2012



I use an Aluminum Macbook Pro.

Nothing but the best heat transference materials for my laptop.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:12 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Isn't this what books are for now?
posted by orme at 9:26 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Toasted Leg Syndrome, or erythema ab igne, is / are a pronounced skin burn, usually on the thighs, that can lead to permanent discoloration and even melanoma.

None of the articles suggest any connection between erythema ab igne and melanoma; there is a connection, however, to squamous cell carcinoma, which is a different type of skin cancer that, while it can be serious, is rarely fatal.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:27 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


A cooling pad might also help you avoid that thing where every single time I've had to use someone else's iBook for something, I've noticed that it smells like crotch.

Other laptops, not so much. I don't know if there's something in the plastic casing of the iBook in particular that just holds the smell better, or what. All I know is that borrowing someone's iBook is always really awkward.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:35 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Toasted Leg Syndrome, or erythema ab igne

Sounds faintly... galic?
posted by Slackermagee at 10:16 AM on August 8, 2012


This is nothing. I used to have a Psion Series 5, the little PDA with the folding keyboard that expanded from within the case.

Using it in bed one time I got most of my foreskin trapped in the mechanism when folding it up.
posted by colie at 10:40 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I use an Aluminum Macbook Pro.

Seriously, I have one of those too and who decided it was a good idea? I know it looks cool and all that but I'd trade that in for not overheating my thighs (even with a cooling pad) and lack of heat-induced discoloration on the screen.
posted by peacheater at 10:41 AM on August 8, 2012


The other way fun thing you can get from consistently putting your laptop on your lap is, in middle age, degenerative osteoarthritis at C5 and/or C6 (what we used to call the "typing muscle" in college) from bending your neck toward the display. This pressures nerves and produces chronic back, neck, shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand/thumb pain that mimics carpal tunnel syndrome -- only all the way down both arms. If I could send a message to the me of 20 years ago, it would be "get that screen up to eye level, stupid."
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:08 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, my first two fingers on my right hand are now crapping out pretty badly and I think it's all about Apple trackpad and iPhone.

Neck cricked, fingers reduced to claws, balls burnt off by Adobe Flash, but I'm still posting.
posted by colie at 11:17 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately the commentary to this is complete bullshit: Erythema ab igne is in no way a skin burn, but a "a reticular, erythematous, hyperpigmented eruption that may occur after chronic exposure to moderate levels of infrared radiation in the form of heat". It does not form acutely like a burn but will develop over years. Histologically it is completely different from a burn as well: "Histologically, EAI is similar to actinic keratoses, with the epidermis showing squamous atypia. There may also be an accumulation of dermal elastic tissue, which is an early sign of both UV radiation- and heatinduced skin damage". The malignancies arising are Merkel cell and Squamous cell Ca's.

Please research your stuff before posting stuff people might actually believe.

*Quotations from Stephen Tan, Vince Bertucci: Erythema ab igne: an old condition
new again;CMAJ January 11, 2000 vol. 162 no. 1
posted by fordiebianco at 11:20 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


There have been 10 or so cases since 2004, so I think we'll be okay.

The 12-year-old boy highlighted in the article is thought to be the youngest laptop-induced patient. He reported playing computer games for several hours per day with his laptop computer being located on his upper legs.

What the fuck? Who was supervising this child and why did they allow this to happen?
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:21 AM on August 8, 2012


I wish I'd read this thread before playing hours of Minecraft on an aluminium MacBook Pro.
posted by daisyk at 12:28 PM on August 8, 2012


Problems with your fancy car's seat warmers?

How sad for you!

Cue the tiniest violin in existence.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:09 PM on August 8, 2012


I wish I'd read this thread before playing hours of Minecraft on an aluminium MacBook Pro.
posted by daisyk at 8:28 PM on August 8 [+] [!]


You know what, forget my last comment. It's 31 C here today and I have played several hours of Minecraft on the selfsame MacBook Pro. Clearly I am incapable of learning.

- a slightly mottled daisyk
posted by daisyk at 8:34 AM on August 19, 2012


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