Scalded skin syndrome is caused by infection with certain strains of Staphylococcus bacteria. The bacteria produce a poison that causes the skin damage. The damage creates blisters as if the skin were scalded.
Scalded skin syndrome is found most commonly in infants and children under the age of 5.
Large areas of skin peel or fall away (exfoliation or desquamation)
Redness of the skin (erythema), which spreads to cover most of the body
Skin slips off with gentle pressure, leaving wet red areas (Nikolsky's sign)
Signs and tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and look at the skin. The exam may show that the skin slips off when it is rubbed. This is called a positive Nikolsky's sign.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.