Children with Reye syndrome are usually treated in a hospital.
Those who are seriously ill will be cared for in the intensive care unit ICU. Tests done can include blood tests to check electrolytes and liver function and an imaging study of the brain CAT scan or MRI.
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If seizures happen, they'll be treated with medicines. Some kids might need breathing help from a breathing machine or respirator if their breathing gets too slow or ineffective.
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The outlook for children with Reye syndrome has improved thanks to earlier diagnosis and better treatment. If the late stages of the syndrome happen, they can cause brain damage, disability, or death. This is even more important if your child has had a recent viral illness, such as the flu or a cold. Of course, many kids with viruses will have some of these symptoms, and most will not have Reye syndrome.
But it's best to be sure because early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment of Reye syndrome.
Many over-the-counter OTC medicines contain salicylates, including bismuth subsalicylate for instance, Pepto-Bismol. Be sure to read the labels and talk to your health care provider if you're not sure whether a medicine is safe for your child.
In general, kids and teens should not take aspirin salicylates except on the advice of a doctor for certain conditions. Reviewed by: Marcella A. Escoto, DO. In New Zealand, aspirin product labels are required to include the following statement "Unless a doctor has told you to, do not use this product in children under 12 years of age or teenagers with chickenpox, influenza or fever".
The Story of Aspirin
The New Zealand Formulary for Children contraindicates the use of aspirin in children under 16 years of age unless it is being used for Kawasaki disease or for prevention of thrombus formation after cardiac surgery 1. This is in-line with recommendations from the United Kingdom 2. Aspirin is no longer recommended for the symptomatic management of joint pain in rheumatic fever due to the risk of Reye's syndrome 3.
Mild joint pain and fever may respond to paracetamol alone.
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Naproxen is the evidence-based treatment of choice. However, there is no liquid formulation of naproxen available in New Zealand. Ibuprofen is available as a liquid and is often used but there is a lack of published evidence supporting use for this indication.
Aspirin | Great Ormond Street Hospital
Reye's syndrome is a very rare but serious condition that causes inflammation and swelling of the brain and fatty degeneration of the liver 4. It occurs almost exclusively in children 4. The exact cause is unknown but is often triggered by a viral infection and the use of aspirin 4. Symptoms start with vomiting and varying degrees of neurologic impairment, including fluctuating personality changes and deterioration in consciousness 4.