Scalded skin syndrome is a skin infection caused by bacteria in which the skin becomes damaged and sheds.
Scalded skin syndrome (SSS) 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. 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.
Exams and Tests
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.
A full recovery is expected.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider or go to the emergency room if you have symptoms of this disorder.
The disorder may not be preventable. Treating any staphylococcus infection quickly can help.
Ritter disease; Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSS)
Koch D, Taibjee SM. Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson I, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 223.
Paller AS, Mancini AJ. Bacterial, mycobacterial, and protozoal infections of the skin. In: Paller AS, Mancini AJ, eds. Hurwitz Clinical Pediatric Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 14.
Review Date 12/10/2015
Updated by: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.