Staph infections can be quite serious which is kind of ironic as certain types of staph bacteria live naturally on our skin and in your nose. However, there is a condition that is nicknamed scalded skin syndrome which is a reaction of a skin infection caused by staphylococcal bacteria. This skin condition looks as if your skin was burned and hen peeled away quite a gruesome sight.
There are special types of these staph bacteria which secrete a substance which is quite poisonous to the skin. As such, your skin will react to this substance by splitting the top epidermis layer away from the rest. This poisonous substance spreads to the rest of the body, even if only a small area is affected directly. As a result, your entire body could peel.
Two groups of people primarily get this scalded skin syndrome babies and those who may have compromised immune systems. Other forms of staph infections are contagious and the staph which causes this scalded skin syndrome is as well which makes it tough to treat babies and not spread it around.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
For babies, the infection may pop up around the umbilical cord stump or even in the diaper area. Adults may first exhibit signs anywhere on the body. Some doctors first mistake the early stages of it as impetigo because isolated spots crust over. However, within a day or so, red colored areas will start popping up around these crusted places and they are quite painful. Next, other areas will form the redness and develop blisters and fluid filled areas that rupture with ease.
The skin then starts to peel off, just the epidermis, sometimes in large quantities, with the slightest touch. Within a day or two, the entire body is compromised with this scalded syndrome and chills, fever and fatigue can occur.
Because the epidermal layer is compromised with this toxic reaction to the staph, your skin is vulnerable to infection from other bacteria as well as other organisms. The result could be even greater infections as well as dehydration and skin oozing because of its raw state.
Treating this Syndrome
Most doctors can easily tell when a staph infection is causing the scalded skin syndrome. However, a biopsy may be performed by taking a piece of skin and examining it under the microscope for signs of bacteria. Antibiotics are the best course of action to treat this skin infection and are typically given via an IV in the hospital. During this course of treatment, the scalded looking skin must be protected, not only to prevent the spread of the infection but also so that new infections are not contracted.
Typical antibiotic treatment lasts for seven to ten days but if caught early, you could see signs of healing in as early as five days. As mentioned above, the skin must be protected and doctors will likely treat your skin condition as if it were a real burn. It is important that any bed linens, clothing and other areas which were in contact with this staph infected skin be treated to kill any lingering bacteria which could cause another infection.