Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome

What is staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome?

Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome is a response to a toxin produced by a staphylococcal infection and is characterized by peeling skin. The disease mostly affects infants, young children, and individuals with a depressed immune system or renal insufficiency. Rarely, the disease can be life-threatening.

What are the signs and symptoms of staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome?

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome. However, each child experiences symptoms differently. The disease usually begins with a fever and redness of the skin. Then, fluid-filled blisters may form. The blisters rupture very easily, leaving an area of moist, tender skin. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Red, painful areas
  • Blistering
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Fluid loss
  • Top layer of skin slips off with rubbing (Nikolsky's sign)

In newborns, the lesions are often found in the diaper area or around the umbilical cord. Older children more commonly have the lesions on their arms, legs, and trunk, especially in creases.

The symptoms of staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.

How is staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome diagnosed?

In most cases, the diagnosis is made based on history and physical exam. Bacterial cultures may be helpful.

What is the treatment for staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome?

Treatment usually requires hospitalization, for IV antibiotics, fluids, and close observation.