Reye syndrome is a rare but
serious disease that most often affects children ages 6 to 12 years old. It can
cause brain swelling and liver damage. It may be related to using
aspirin to treat viral infections.
syndrome can lead to brain damage, liver damage, and death. But if the disease
is found and treated early, most children recover from Reye syndrome in a
few weeks and have no lasting problems.
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Experts don't know what
causes Reye syndrome. It often happens in children who have recently had
the flu and who took medicines that contain
Reye syndrome cannot spread from child to child.
What are the symptoms?
Reye syndrome often starts
when a child is recovering from a viral illness, such as the flu or
chickenpox. Symptoms usually
appear 3 to 7 days after the viral illness starts. They may develop over
several hours to a day or two.
Reye syndrome is always treated
in a hospital, often in the intensive care unit (ICU). The goal is to stop damage to the
brain and liver and to prevent other problems. While in the hospital, your child will receive medicines to reduce brain swelling and will get other supportive care.
Reye syndrome can be scary for you and your child.
Remember that most children recover with no problems. To help yourself and your
child feel better:
Talk with your doctor and the hospital staff
about any questions or concerns you have about your child's
Stay with your child, or visit often if you are not allowed to
stay with your child in the ICU.
Let your child have some favorite
toys or belongings while in the hospital. This will help your child feel more