Learn About Scalded Skin Syndrome

What is the definition of Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Scalded skin syndrome (SSS) is a skin infection caused by staphylococcus bacteria in which the skin becomes damaged and sheds.

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What are the alternative names for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Ritter disease; Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome; SSS

What are the causes of Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Scalded skin syndrome is caused by infection with certain strains of staphylococcus bacteria. The bacteria produce a toxin that causes the skin damage. The damage creates blisters, as if the skin were scalded by heat. These blisters can occur at areas of the skin away from the initial site.

SSS is found most commonly in infants and children under the age of 5.

What are the symptoms of Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Blisters
  • Fever
  • Large areas of skin peel or fall away (exfoliation or desquamation)
  • Painful skin
  • Redness of the skin (erythema), which spreads to cover most of the body
  • Skin slips off with gentle pressure, leaving wet red areas (Nikolsky sign)
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What are the current treatments for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Antibiotics are given by mouth or through a vein (intravenously; IV) to help fight the infection. IV fluids are also given to prevent dehydration. Much of the body's fluid is lost through open skin.

Moist compresses to the skin may improve comfort. You can apply a moisturizing ointment to keep the skin moist. Healing begins about 10 days after treatment.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

A full recovery is expected.

What are the possible complications of Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Complications that may result include:

  • Abnormal level of fluids in the body causing dehydration or electrolyte imbalance
  • Poor temperature control (in young infants)
  • Severe bloodstream infection (septicemia)
  • Spread to deeper skin infection (cellulitis)
When should I contact a medical professional for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Contact your provider or go to the emergency room if you have symptoms of this disorder.

How do I prevent Scalded Skin Syndrome?

The disorder may not be preventable. Treating any staphylococcus infection quickly can help.

What are the latest Scalded Skin Syndrome Clinical Trials?
Phase IIa Multicenter Clinical Trial to Determine the Feasibility and Safety of the Use of Adipose-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (ASC) in the Treatment of Patients With Cicatricial Conjunctivitis Associated With Lyell's Syndrome, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Pemphigoid of the Mucous Membranes With Ocular Involvement.

Summary: A phase IIa, open label, non controlled clinical trial to assess the feasibility and safety of allogeneic adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASC) in the treatment of cicatricial conjunctivitis associated with Lyell's syndrome, Stevens-Johnson's syndrome and mucous membrane pemphigoid with ocular involvement

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Evaluating the Therapeutic Efficacy of Filgrastim in Severe Bullous Drug Eruptions (Lyell and Stevens-Johnson Syndromes)

Summary: Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) including Stevens Johnson (SJS) and Lyell syndromes represent the most severe drug eruptions. It is an allergic disorder caused by cytotoxic T lymphocytes, specific of drugs, responsible for the destruction of keratinocytes by apoptosis. Regulatory T cell (CD25 high CD4+), normally responsible for controlling the activation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes, have altered ...

What are the Latest Advances for Scalded Skin Syndrome?
Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome, Identification, and Wound Care: A Case Report Series.
COVID-19 induced Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
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Systemic interventions for treatment of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), and SJS/TEN overlap syndrome.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: November 23, 2021
Published By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Paller AS, Mancini AJ. Bacterial, mycobacterial, and protozoal infections of the skin. In: Paller AS, Mancini AJ, eds. Paller and Mancini-Hurwitz Clinical Pediatric Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 14.

Pallin DJ. Skin infections. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 129.