What Causes Scalded Skin Syndrome

What Causes Scalded Skin Syndrome

Impetigo or cellulitis, common skin infections caused by staph bacteria, are typically encountered. However, in rare instances like scalded skin syndrome, the skin appears burned, primarily affecting newborns and young children.

Discovering burns on your child’s body can be distressing, especially considering the potential life-threatening nature of scalded skin syndrome. Prompt treatment is essential. This syndrome predominantly affects children under six years old, but can also occur in adults with renal failure or immune deficiencies. Misleading symptoms can lead to severe consequences, underscoring the importance of understanding the disease’s causes.


Staphylococcus aureus, the most prevalent bacteria infecting the skin, eyes, and nose, typically results from:

  • Impetigo
  • Boils and abscesses
  • Styes and conjunctivitis
  • Wound infections
  • Skin conditions like eczema

Young children and newborns, whose immune systems and kidneys are not fully developed, are most susceptible. While staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome is rare in adults, those with kidney failure, immune deficiencies, or undergoing immune-suppressing treatments like chemotherapy are at risk.

The bacteria can spread through personal contact, shared towels, or respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing, even from asymptomatic carriers.

Treatment involves oral antibiotics, occasionally administered intravenously in severe cases. Cleansing the skin and applying soothing creams or dressings, possibly containing antibiotics or antiseptics, are recommended. Specialized medical attention may be necessary if fluid or electrolyte imbalances occur, or if a blood infection develops.