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Scalded skin syndrome

Contents of this page:

Alternative Names   

Ritter disease; Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSS)

Definition    Return to top

Scalded skin syndrome is a skin infection in which the skin becomes damaged and sheds.

Causes    Return to top

Scalded skin syndrome is caused by infection with certain strains of bacteria in the Staphylococcus family. During the infection, the staphylococci produce a poison that causes the skin damage.

Scalded skin syndrome is found most commonly in infants and children under the age of 5.

Symptoms    Return to top

Exams and Tests    Return to top

Tests include:

Treatment    Return to top

Intravenous antibiotics for staphylococcus are given to help fight the infection. Because much fluid is lost through the open skin, it's important to get intravenous fluid to prevent dehydration.

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

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

The prognosis is usually excellent. A full recovery is expected.

Possible Complications    Return to top

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

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

Prevention    Return to top

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

Update Date: 11/12/2007

Updated by: Rachel A. Lewis, M.D., F.A.A.P., Columbia University Pediatric Faculty Practice, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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