With all this freak weather about you'd think that having some portable music about would be a godsend – something to listen to when stuck on your roof or down at the school hall with all the other newly homeless. And it's easier to grab an iPod nano than your hi-fi and CD cabinet when the river banks burst.

Well, no. Now's the worst time to be pocketing an iPod, iPhone or Sony Walkman. It could even be the death of you.

A luckless Canadian jogger suffered wishbone-shaped chest and neck burns, ruptured eardrums and a broken jaw when lightning travelled through his music player's wires.

And this isn't the first time lightning has struck. Last year Colorado teen Jason Bunch ended up with similar injuries when lightning hit him as he was listening to his iPod while mowing the lawn.

ER docs have reported treating other patients with burns from freak accidents while using personal electronic devices such as beepers, music players and laptop computers outdoors during storms.

iPods and other such devices don't actually attract lightning like a tall tree or lightning rod does.

"It's going to hit where it's going to hit, but once it contacts metal, the metal conducts the electricity," said Dr Mary Ann Cooper, of University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune.

When lightning jumps from a nearby object to a person, it often flashes over the skin. But metal in electronic devices can cause contact burns and make the human damage much more painful.

Related news: iPod users warned on digital music risk