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Reye Syndrome

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is Reye syndrome?

Reye syndrome is a rare, but serious condition that can cause injury to your child's brain, liver, or other organs. The cause is unknown. Your child may develop Reye syndrome after a viral infection such as the flu or chickenpox. Your child's risk for Reye syndrome is increased if he or she takes medicine that contains aspirin or salicylates. Reye syndrome most commonly happens to children 4 to 14 years of age.

What are the signs and symptoms of Reye syndrome?

Symptoms may appear after your child begins to get better from a viral infection. Symptoms may also appear after your child takes medicines that contains aspirin or salicylates. Your child may have any of the following:

How is Reye syndrome diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will examine your child. Tell the provider if your child has recently had aspirin, over-the-counter medicine, herbal medicine, or vitamins. Also tell the provider if your child has recently been sick. Your child may need any of the following:

How is Reye syndrome treated?

There is no cure for Reye syndrome. Early treatment may help prevent damage to your child's brain, liver, and other organs. Your child may need medicines to decrease swelling in his or her brain or prevent seizures or bleeding. IV fluids may be given to treat dehydration and increase his or her blood sugar or electrolyte levels. Electrolytes include potassium, sodium, and calcium. Other medicines or procedures may be needed to treat or prevent life-threatening problems.

How can Reye syndrome be prevented?

Call 911 for any of the following:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

Where can I find support and more information?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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