Know What Is Reye’s syndrome In Children

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Know What Is Reye’s syndrome


Reye’s syndrome is a rare disease that every year affects many kids. It’s important to understand Reye’s causes and symptoms so you can understand it and your child’s risks.

What is Reye’s Syndrome?


Reye’s syndrome is a rare but severe disease that causes liver and brain swelling. It can affect people of any age, but it is most commonly seen in children and adolescents recovering from a virus like flu or varicose veins. Studies have found that aspirin or other related drugs, called salicylates, are the main risk factor for Reye’s syndrome. For this reason, doctors recommend that children and adolescents who recover from viral infections avoid taking aspirin.


What Causes Reye’s syndrome?


Doctors are not fully aware of what causes the syndrome of Reye. But they do know that when people take aspirin for a virus, some people are prone to get it. Others are more likely to get it if they:

  • Have a disorder that affects the breakdown of fatty acids in your body 
  • Some toxins have been exposed, including diluents, insects, and weeds

When Reye’s syndrome strikes, cells get swollen throughout your body and build up fats. In turn, blood sugar levels drop. Blood ammonia and acid levels rise. These changes can affect many organs, such as the brain and liver, where severe swelling can occur.


Reye Syndrome and Aspirin Connection:


While the exact causes of Reye’s syndrome are not known, its causes are frequently debated. Some studies showed a connection between Reye’s syndrome and taking aspirin; more specifically, children who took aspirin while having a viral disease, or shortly after having a viral disease.

For these reasons, a child under the age of 19 should not be given aspirin unless instructed by a qualified physician to do so. While the exact links between Reye and aspirin are still being discussed, almost all doctors will recommend that children who have recently had a viral disease not be given aspirin. 


Symptoms Of Reye Syndrome:


Reye’s signs typically appear 3 to 5 days after a viral infection has started.

Early symptoms may include diarrhea and rapid breathing in children younger than 2 years of age. Early symptoms may include ongoing vomiting and unusual sleepiness in older children and adolescents As the syndrome continues, symptoms may become more severe, including:

  • Changes in personality (more irritable or aggressive)
  • Hallucinations
  • Weakness or inability to move arms or legs
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of consciousness

Reye’s can be dangerous for life. If you see these serious symptoms, you should call 911. It is essential to diagnose and treat early. Other conditions such as meningitis (membrane swelling in the brain and spinal cord), a diabetes reaction, or toxicity can be mistaken in the syndrome.


Complications of Reyes Syndrome in Children:


Rapid progression of Reye’s symptoms can lead to permanent brain damage or damage to the liver without early treatment. While the disease is rarely fatal, if the symptoms of the disease go untreated, fatality is possible. Some of the possible Reye syndrome complications include

  • Coma
  • Brain damage
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Death

Diagnosis Of Reye Syndrome:


It is important to diagnose Reye’s syndrome early in order to save the child’s life. You should take them to the hospital if you suspect that your child might have Reye’s. Diagnosis is a clinical process involving the following evaluation of your child:

  • Brain dysfunction (encephalopathy)
  • A history of recent viral infection or aspirin use
  • liver enzymes and ammonia levels
  • Other metabolic disorders

Typically, the following procedures are used to diagnose a child’s Reye syndrome:

  • Liver biopsy
  • Urine and stool tests
  • MRI
  • Spinal tap
  • Intracranial pressure monitoring (ICP)
  • Blood tests
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)


Treatment Of  Reye Syndrome:


Due to the sudden onset nature of its symptoms, early treatment is needed to treat Reye’s syndrome. This will usually involve hospitalization and children will be forced to go to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in some more serious cases of the disease.

Since Reye’s all about prevention, the exact “cure” is not available. Treatment supports and focuses on symptoms and complications reduction. You should ensure that your child remains hydrated during treatment and maintains an electrolyte balance as well as having your doctor monitor the functioning of your heart, lungs, and liver. The appropriate types of medication should be given to children with seizures to control the complications of these symptoms. 

Prevention Of Reye Syndrome:


As mentioned above, when giving aspirin to children or adolescents, all parents should exercise caution. Although the drug was approved for children over the age of 2, children recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never be administered. Also, avoid any other types or brands of aspirin-including pain medications. Also, read on some of the other common aspirin names to make sure your child doesn’t take the drug accidentally. 

While the exact causes of the disease are still unknown, some children may be at higher risk from the disease than others are now widely believed. Those with fatty acid oxidation disorders include children at higher risk. For this, some hospitals will conduct newborn screenings, and if you check with your medical provider, it should be available on request. 

Because of the serious nature of the disease and its sudden nature, it can cause many side effects if not treated early or immediately, and many children will never recover in full. The syndrome of Reye has been reported to affect children who can be the result of taking aspirin during or while getting back from viral disorders. Parents should take great care to detect symptoms early and seek medical advice as soon as possible if symptoms arise. 

Parents should carefully read medication labels and avoid giving aspirin-containing products to children during illness. Ask your child’s doctor about medication and dosage questions.


Also Read: How Influenza Affects Children And Babies