Scalded skin syndrome is a skin disease caused due to toxin released by staphylococcus aureus bacteria. These toxins bind and attack the upper layer of skin to cause skin redness, blisters, and sloughing. The lesions appear similar to scalds caused by a burn, hence the name scalded skin syndrome.
The condition is more common in children below the age of 5, but sometimes it can also affect older children. Adults are rarely affected with this condition. The condition is characterized fever, skin redness, fluid filled blisters, and skin peeling.
Patient has to be hospitalized for treatment.The infection is controlled with administration of intravenous antibiotics. Prognosis is favorable and patient recovers completely after the treatment.
What Causes Scalded Skin Syndrome?
Scalded skin syndrome starts from a local staphylococcal aureus infection. Staphylococcus bacteria produces exotoxin called epidermolyitc exotoxin A and B. These toxins attack the epidermal cells (upper layer) of skin. As a result the upper layer gets separated from the deeper layer of skin. These toxin causes skin damage leading to fluid filled blisters, skin redness, and scaling. The toxin from the local site can infiltrate bloodstream and spread to other areas of skin leading to staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome.
This skin ailment prominently affects newborn and children below the age of 5 years, probably, because they do not have fully developed immune system. In infants the diaper area and umbilical area is the site of primary infection. In toddlers and slightly older children the lesions first appear of face.
Adults rarely suffer from this disease due to presence of antibodies against staphylococcus aureus toxin. However, adults with immunocompromised status and renal failure may be at risk of suffering from this skin condition. Male infants and children are affected more than female counterparts.
Signs And Symptoms Of Scalded Skin Syndrome
In majority cases of scalded skin syndrome low grade fever is the initial symptom. The patient, usually a child is irritable during the onset of the disease. This is followed by redness and tenderness of skin. Within 1 or 2 days fluid filled blisters develop at the affected site, mostly around the mouth, ears and eyes.
The blisters burst easily leaving red and moist skin below which appears similar to scald caused by burn injury. Soon the rash spreads to other parts of body especially in skin folds such as the armpit, groin, around the nose. In new born the primary lesion is around the diaper area or around the umbilical cord. The skin is easily desquamated on slightest pressure leaving behind red and tender surface.
Treatment For Scalded Skin Syndrome
Patient with scalding skin syndrome needs to be hospitalized, especially infants and neonates. Toddlers and older children or adults who eat and drink properly may be treated as outpatient. Local skin care is essential for patients in hospital as well as those taking treatment at home.
Intravenous antibiotics are administered as first line of treatment. Symptomatic treatment is given to alleviate fever and skin tenderness. Antibacterial ointment is applied over the lesion. Use of emollients is beneficial to soothe irritation and pain.
Fluids and electrolytes are given through vein to prevent and treat dehydration. The prognosis of this condition is good and most people recover after 5 to 6 days of treatment.