Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Skin disorders can be the most painful diseases to experience. Stevens Johnson Syndrome is one of them. Learn more about this rare disease…

What is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome?

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, or SJS, is a rare, life-threatening condition in which your skin cells die. This forces the epidermis–or outermost layers of skin–to separate from the dermis–your layer of skin sandwiched in between your epidermis and subcutaneous tissue. It’s a milder form of toxic epidermal necrolysis. Which means it’s usually caused by a reaction to drugs.

Where is it located?

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome can be found everywhere throughout the world since it’s not caused by fungus. Instead it is caused by either genetic factors or drug-induced disorders of the immune system. About a quarter to a half of SJS cases are due to unknown causes.

How will it you?

The main cause of SJS is adverse effects from antibiotic use, particularly sulfa drugs. It can also appear in those affected by herpes, pneumonia, HIV, and hepatitis. Initial symptoms include a sore throat, fever, and fatigue. These are oftentimes misdiagnosed and treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics then cause ulcers and other lesions to appear in your mucous membranes. Such as your mouth, lips, and genital and anal regions. Conjunctivitis of the eyes may also occur. Rashes of painful, round lesions along with skin discoloration then begins to arise throughout your body. The death of your skin cells causes a separation of your epidermis from your dermis. This triggers an inflammatory process in which the condition spirals downwards until the point of death.

How to survive:

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is considered a dermatological emergency and therefore requires immediate hospitalization, often in a burn unit or intensive care unit. The first and by far most important step is to discontinue any medications that may be cause this condition. Treatment is similar to that of burn victims. Supportive and symptomatic care is then required, which includes intravenous fluids and feeding, as well as administering analgesic mouth rinse for the mouth ulcers. The mortality rate for SJS can be as high as 40%, but with the immediate and proper treatment, it can be reduced to as low as 5%.


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