Warnings about dangerous overuse of heated car seats

Heated car seats are wonderful in the dead of winter, but overusing them can be dangerous. (WTOP/Paula Wolfson)

Paula Wolfson, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – With cooler weather on the horizon, more and more drivers will be turning on the seat warmers in their cars.

But be careful not to over do it.

Studies have linked excessive use of seat warmers to a skin condition technically known as “erytherma ab igne” — Latin for “Redness from fire.”

Most doctors simply call it “Toasted Skin Syndrome.”

The key here is repeated exposure, with symptoms developing over weeks and months of use. A red, netlike rash can develop after prolonged use on areas warmed by the seat heater, usually from the lower back to the back of the thighs and all points in between.

Researchers say most people who get TSS don’t realize it at first, and since it develops on parts of the body that are tough to spot in a mirror, it often goes undetected until it turns nasty.

Initial studies linking heated seats to TSS appeared early this year, and followed similar warnings to habitual laptop users.

The alert was issued after several cases where people developed discoloration on their thighs after sitting for extended periods with their laptops propped up on their legs.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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