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. The disease can be life-threatening.
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 skin. Other symptoms may include the following:
Red, painful areas around infection site
Top layer of skin slips off with rubbing or gentle pressure (Nikolsky's sign)
After the top layer of skin has peeled off, the following symptoms may be present:
Fluid loss through the open areas of moist skin
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.
The symptoms of staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a medical history and physical examination of your child, the diagnosis may be confirmed with a biopsy (taking a tissue sample to be examined under a microscope) and cultures of the skin and throat. Blood tests (CBC and electrolyte) can also help diagnose and manage this condition.
Treatment usually requires hospitalization, often in the burn unit of the hospital, because the risks of complications are similar to those of children with burns. Specific treatment for staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome will be determined by your child's doctor based on:
Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
Severity of the condition
Your child's tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Treatment may also include:
Antibiotics (oral or IV) for Staphylococcus to help fight the infection
Intravenous (IV) fluids to prevent dehydration
Supportive skin care measures (creams and ointments) to improve the skin's barrier function