What is Scalded Skin Syndrome?
Scalded skin syndrome or staphylococcal scalded syndrome is a severe skin infection caused by manifestation of a class of bacteria called as Staphylococcus aureus. This condition is characterized by peeling and blistering of the skin giving it the appearance as the skin had second degree burns. It is important to know whether scalded skin syndrome is contagious and whether you can get it twice?
Scalded skin syndrome (SSS), also known as Ritter’s disease, is caused by the exfoliative toxins secreted by the bacteria. These toxins cause the skin to become very fragile and prone to peeling upon light touches. It is a rare condition and affects only about 56 individuals out of 100000 people. This condition is most commonly seen in children below the age of 6. Though rarely, adults with history of renal failure, immune-deficiency and other chronic conditions are prone to scalded skin syndrome.
It can be a very serious and a life threatening issue. Treatment of scalded skin syndrome depends on the health status and the age of the affected individual. In most of the cases, treatment modality includes topical ointments, antibiotic courses and administration of intravenous fluid.
Is Scalded Skin Syndrome Contagious?
People are often worried about the nature of this condition. A commonly asked question, is scalded skin syndrome, must be addressed to increase the awareness about this condition. Scalded skin syndrome is a contagious disease and spreads through direct contact. In healthy individuals, the toxins are usually removed from the body with the help of the kidneys. However, in individuals with weak immunity or kidney issues, the toxin can enter the person’s blood stream through circulation and affect the surface of the person’s body.
As scalded skin syndrome is a contagious disease, it is important to know the high risk groups who can easily get affected. Close contact with affected individuals can cause transmission of the disease particularly in the following cases:
- Young individuals below the age of 6 years
- Individuals with known history of kidney failure or immuno-deficiency
- Patients who are on immunosuppressant drugs
- Patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Children are more prone to this condition due to lack of antibodies and poor immunity to fight back with the toxins. Also, the kidneys are not well developed in children to flush out the toxins. Hence, they too are at greater risk of experiencing scalded skin syndrome.
Prevention of Scalded Skin Syndrome
While scalded skin syndrome is contagious, there are many ways in which it can be prevented and the spread can be controlled. Scalded skin syndrome can be prevented by following the measures mentioned below:
- Measures should be taken to ensure that the infected individuals are kept in clean and hygienic environment
- Hand washing habit with anti-bacterial soap should be encouraged
- Asymptomatic carrier, i.e. people who carry the bacteria but do not show any signs of infection, should be identified and treated immediately.
Can You Get Scalded Skin Syndrome Twice?
Here is another common question regarding the occurrence of this condition. Can you get scalded skin syndrome twice? It is very uncommon to get affected by scalded skin syndrome for the second time. However, it is important to note that scalded skin syndrome is associated with severe complications, such as dehydration and difficulty with temperature control. The same bacteria that cause scalded skin syndrome can cause other medical issues such as:
- Sepsis, i.e. infection in the bloodstream
- Cellulitis, i.e. infection of the deeper layer of the skin that extends into the fat and tissues that lie underneath it.
In some cases, scalded skin syndrome can also be fatal. It is therefore very important to ensure proper treatment is given to the patient so that the bacteria does not linger in the body. Thus, it is clear that scalded skin syndrome is contagious but usually you do not get scalded skin syndrome twice.