Alphabetic Guide to Child Care - Reye's syndrome

Reye's Syndrome

Reye's Syndrome is a childhood disease that affects the nervous system and the liver and can result in death. The symptoms normally occur after the child has suffered from the flu or a respiratory illness. The symptoms include vomiting, rash, and disorientation or confusion. If not immediately treated, seizures, respiratory arrest, and coma follow shortly. There is no cure but the dangerous manifestations of the disease can be treated to avoid complications, permanent damage, or death.

The syndrome is believed to be linked to treating the child with aspirin or aspirin-containing medication during the initial illness. Cases of Reye's Syndrome have decreased sharply since 1980, with the increase in public awareness of the link between the disease and the use of aspirin for children.

Given the risk of Reye's Syndrome, it is highly recommended that parents avoid aspirin for children during any illness with fever, flu, diarrhea, or respiratory symptoms. If symptoms persist or if aspirin was given just before the onset of symptoms, please notify a physician. Reye's Syndrome is diagnosed symptomatically.

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