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Reye syndrome is a rare illness that can affect the blood, liver, and brain of someone who has recently had a viral infection. It always follows another illness. Although it mostly affects children and teens, anyone can get it. It can develop quickly and without warning. It is most common during flu season. Symptoms include

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Listlessness
  • Personality change - such as irritability, combativeness or confusion
  • Delirium
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness

If these symptoms occur soon after a viral illness, seek medical attention immediately. Reye syndrome can lead to a coma and brain death, so quick diagnosis and treatment are critical. Treatment focuses on preventing brain damage. There is no cure.

The cause of Reye syndrome is unknown. Studies have shown that taking aspirin increases the risk of getting it. Because of that, health care professionals now recommend other pain relievers for young patients.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Reye Syndrome

The following features are indicative of Reye Syndrome:
  • confusion
  • seizures
  • loss of consciousness
  • diarrhea
  • rapid breathing
  • continuous vomiting
  • lethargy
  • irrational behavior
  • hallucinations
  • weakness

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Common Causes of Reye Syndrome

The following are the most common causes of Reye Syndrome:
  • using aspirin to treat a viral illness or infection in children and teenagers who have an underlying fatty acid oxidation disorder
  • exposure to certain toxins such as insecticides, herbicides and paint thinner

Risk Factors for Reye Syndrome

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Reye Syndrome:
  • having fatty acid oxidation disorder
  • using aspirin to treat a viral infection
  • inborn errors of metabolism

Prevention of Reye Syndrome

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Reye Syndrome. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • do not use aspirin in children or teenagers

Occurrence of Reye Syndrome

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Reye Syndrome cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Reye Syndrome can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Reye Syndrome can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Reye Syndrome

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Reye Syndrome:
  • Spinal tap: To evaluate other possible causes of liver problems
  • Liver biopsy: To identify the other conditions that may be affecting the liver
  • Computerized tomography scan: To view images of the brain and evaluate the neurological abnormalities
  • Skin biopsy: To diagnose the fatty acid oxidation disorders

Doctor for Diagnosis of Reye Syndrome

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Reye Syndrome:
  • Neurologist

Complications of Reye Syndrome if untreated

Yes, Reye Syndrome causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Reye Syndrome is left untreated:
  • permanent brain damage
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Reye Syndrome

The following procedures are used to treat Reye Syndrome:
  • Intravenous fluids: To provide electrolytes and glucose and helps in preventing progression of the syndrome

Self-care for Reye Syndrome

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Reye Syndrome:
  • Monitor vital functions: Continual monitoring of vital functions helps in treating the syndrome

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Reye Syndrome

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Reye Syndrome:
  • Using Vitamin K therapy: Prevents blood clotting abnormalities
  • Using a cooling blanket: To prevent abnormally elevated body temperature

Patient Support for Treatment of Reye Syndrome

The following actions may help Reye Syndrome patients:
  • Join supporting organizations: Provides the information and helps in connecting with individuals facing the same disorder

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Reye Syndrome.

Related Topics

Reye Syndrome

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