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What is staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome?

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Quick Answer

Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS) is an acute exfoliation of the skin wherein the skin becomes damaged and sheds, according to Medscape. The syndrome is also known as Ritter von Rittershain disease (in newborns), Ritter disease and staphylococcal epidermal necrolysis. It's caused by infection from certain strains of Staphylococcus bacteria which produce a poison that damages skin, creating blisters that look like burns.

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Full Answer

Medscape states that staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome is most common in infants and children under 5 years old. Symptoms of SSSS include blisters, fever, large areas of skin peel, painful skin, redness of the skin and skin slipping off with gentle pressure (Nikolsky's sign). It is curable, but receiving a proper diagnosis from a health care provider is essential.

Medline Plus lists several tests to diagnose SSSS include complete blood count (CBC), cultures of the skin and an electrolyte test. Antibiotic treatment is generally administered intravenously. Fluids are administered in the same way to prevent dehydration, as much of the body's fluid is lost through the blisters. The syndrome is extremely uncomfortable. Moist compresses to the skin can serve as a balm and a moisturizing ointment may also be needed to keep the skin moist. The healing process usually begins 10 days after treatment.

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