Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS) is a serious skin infection that causes the skin to peel over large parts of the body. It makes the skin look like it has been scalded and burnt.


Also known as Ritter disease, this condition is due to acute exfoliation of the skin. The severity of this condition varies from blisters to severe exfoliation that affects almost the entire body.


This condition is a serious skin infection that usually occurs in infants and young children under the age of five




This condition seems to start with irritability and fever, especially in children. And within the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours, a painful rash will develop on the skin that will progress into blisters filled with fluid that can rupture easily with the softest touch that will make the skin seem like it was burnt.


Symptoms can and will vary in every child. But the common symptoms can include:

· Tiredness

· Fever

· Redness on the skin

· Peeling of the top layer of the skin

· Fuzziness and irritability

· Lack or loss of appetite

· Chills


It is important that we know how to identify the typical features of SSSS, which can include:

· A rash on the skin that looks like a wrinkled wet tissue. This kind of rash usually starts on the face and then spreads very rapidly and spreads to the other parts of the body.

· After the rash, blisters filled with fluid form, usually in areas where there is friction, like the inner thighs. The fluid contents are usually cloudy looking or have yellow pus in them.

· The said blisters can also rupture very easily, exposing raw tissues of the skin that often looks like it is burned




SSSS is an infection caused by the staphylococcal aureus bacteria. This bacterium is typically found living in our bodies. It is usually found in the nose, groin, and armpits. These kinds of bacteria don’t cause problem most of the time, however, if it gets deeper into the skin, it can cause life-threatening infection in the blood, lungs, and heart.


The bacteria also release toxins that can enter the bloodstream that can produce a reaction all over the skin. Infants and young children are prone to catching these infections because of their underdeveloped immune systems and kidneys. Although these infections are rare in adults, they are still susceptible if they have a weak immune system and poor kidney function.




Because symptoms of SSSS resemble other skin disorders and infections, your dermatologist might order a skin biopsy to make a more definitive diagnosis. They might also order blood tests and tissue samples to be taken.




Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome is considered to be an emergency that requires immediate hospitalization and treatment. Treatment options can include:

· Pain medicine

· Ointments and creams

· Intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration

· Intravenous medicines and antibiotics


Once treatment is administered, the patient will probably start to feel better. The skin will start to dry within a week to two.


Children with this condition will most likely have a different plan because more factors need to be considered based on:

· The child’s overall health condition

· The child’s age and medical history

· How well he responds to certain medicines and treatments

· The child’s parent’s opinion and preference, especially because it can get worse.


When treating a child with staphylococcal skin scalded syndrome, he will most likely be treated in a hospital or in a burnt unit of a hospital so doctors can focus on his or her treatment plan. Treating a child with this condition can be complicated because of the child’s low pain tolerance.




Most patients with staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome will recover in no time if treated early. But the same bacteria can also cause other medical condition, such as:

· Cellulitis

· Sepsis

· Pneumonia


These conditions are very serious and can be life-threatening if not addressed immediately.


Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome is a very serious and painful condition, but it is also rare and most people can recover from it fully and quickly when treated immediately. If you notice these symptoms in your child or loved one, consult your dermatologist immediately. Never take symptoms for granted, no matter how minuscule.


At Doral Health and Wellness, our team of specialists is the best dermatologists in Brooklyn. We aim to help you manage your condition. We help examine your condition, order lab tests, make a diagnosis and work with you on a treatment plan that best suit your condition. To book an appointment, you can at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, or call us at 718-DORAL-55. You can also visit our website at to book an appointment online.