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Reye Syndrome - Topic Overview

How is it treated?

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 care.
  • 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 secure.

Can Reye syndrome be prevented?

The most important step you can take to prevent Reye syndrome is to not give aspirin or any product that contains aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless a doctor has prescribed it.

Always read the label before giving medicine to your child. Aspirin is found in many over-the-counter medicines, including ones you might not expect it to be in, such as Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, and Alka-Seltzer. Aspirin is also called:

  • Acetyl salicylate.
  • Acetylsalicylic acid.
  • Salicylic acid.
  • Salicylate or subsalicylate.

Some childhood health problems may require treatment with aspirin. In these cases, make sure you have clear guidance from your doctor about giving aspirin to your child. If your child is taking aspirin and gets chickenpox or the flu, call your doctor right away.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 06, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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