Erythema Ab Igne from hot water bottles:
March 8, 2019
Why does this happen?
Erythema ab igne (EAI), is a skin condition, also referred to as hot water bottle rash. It happens when there is prolonged exposure to heat (like when a hot water bottle is pressed onto an area of skin).
Is it treatable?
Yes, it can be, depending on the severity. Stopping using a hot water bottle, especially on the affected area is recommended. Treatment with topical tretinoin or laser may improve the appearance.
How long do the marks last?
If it is mildly affected, it should disappear within a few weeks/months. If severe and pigmentation has been caused, the marks may stay for some years.
What are the health risks?
In more serious cases of erythema, the skin can be left darkened, although not usually permanently. There is evidence to indicate it can lead to cancer, as occasionally, the first sign of splenomegaly, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and other cancers is erythema ab igne resulting when patients apply external heat to relieve the underlying pain.
How to avoid this condition
It used to be very common in the elderly standing or sitting too close to heaters or fires but is associated with prolonged use of water bottles and nowadays from laptops being placed on skin and the heat from the underside causing the skin to rash or pigment.