There's no mystery behind the name scalded skin syndrome -- it literally makes skin look as if it's been burned. In newborns, it usually begins in the diaper area and then spreads to other parts of the body. In older children, it's likely to initially appear on the arms and legs.
Symptoms usually begin with red, sensitive skin that eventually erupts in blisters. The blisters tend to be large and fluid-filled, and the skin around them may be crusted. The blisters will likely rupture, leaving the skin moist and painful, and the skin will eventually begin to peel off in large sheets [source: New York-Presbyterian]. The condition comes on quickly and has the ability to spread over the majority of the body within 24 to 72 hours [source: Dhar].
Aside from the obvious physical symptoms associated with scalded skin syndrome, there are several other symptoms commonly linked to it. Prior to and following the peeling skin, patients are likely to experience a fever, chills, weakness and fluid loss [source: New York-Presbyterian]. Because skin helps protect us from infection, the condition also puts these patients at risk of developing sepsis, a bacterial infection of the bloodstream and body tissue [source: Dhar].
If you think you or your child may have scalded skin syndrome, you should seek medical attention immediately. Keep reading to learn how doctors diagnose and treat this serious condition.