A woman in the UK actually found out firsthand what it means to use a hot water bottle for a long time to alleviate back pain.
Be careful how long you use the hot water bottle remedy PHOTO Shutterstock
Joey Clarkson, 34, started using this remedy last October because of back pain.
The solution, used by many people and apparently harmless, led to the appearance of the so-called “fried skin syndrome”, known under the medical term of “erythema ab igne“.
“The pain was unbearable and had come for no apparent reason,” Joey recalls. So he started using a hot water bottle every night to ease the pain, and then even during the day. “The heat eased the pain…until the water turned cold“, the woman also told the Daily Mail.
After finding out he had a herniated disc, Joey continued to use the hot water bottle while waiting for the operation.
After a while, he noticed the appearance of a red rash and spots on his lower back. Initially, she ignored this symptom, but after six weeks she realized that the marks were not disappearing. Moreover, the skin began to eat it, and the red spots became darker and more inflamed.
What is “Fried Skin Syndrome”
A dermatologist diagnosed her with “fried skin syndrome”, also known as “erythema ab igne“. This condition occurs as a result of prolonged exposure to direct heat on the skin and manifests as a red or brown rash with a distinct web-like pattern and itchiness.
“I was shocked,” Joey confesses. “I had never heard of such a thing and thought using the hot water bottle was perfectly safe.” Moreover, he had begun to fear, after reading that, in some cases, the dermatological disease he had increased the predisposition to skin cancer.
Following prolonged exposure to heat, the skin develops a characteristic rash with red, white and brown pigmentation, say dermatologists.
This occurs due to the breakdown of the elastic fibers and basal cells of the skin, which generates hyperpigmentation and distinctive changes in the appearance of the skin.
Dermatologists warn that the changes in superficial blood vessels and skin cells can be permanent and that the condition can leave scars for the rest of your life.
Furthermore, researchers claim that changes in blood vessels can lead to skin cancer in extreme cases. People with thin or damaged skin with a genetic susceptibility to skin cancer are most prone. These people, exposed to high levels of UV radiation, should take preventive measures.
Doctors suggest using protection, such as covers for hot water bottles and cooling trays for laptops, to avoid direct exposure of the heat source to the skin. It is also recommended to use a layer of clothing between the heat source and the skin and stop the heat exposure immediately if the syndrome occurs.
“I didn't know that using the hot water bottle for pain relief put me at risk of skin cancerJoey says. “It was terrifying. I think there should be a heat warning,” she also said..