Reye’s syndrome treatment and prevention in Children

Reye’s syndrome is a fatal disease in children that can lead to permanent brain damage or even death without treatment. So, go to the emergency room or call your doctor immediately if your child has Confusion, Lethargy, mental changes and other symptoms of Reye’s syndrome to get treatment as soon as possible to get rid of the symptoms and to prevent complication that may happen as suggested by National Institute of Health.

Reye’s syndrome treatment and prevention in Children

What is Reye's syndrome?


Reye's syndrome is a serious condition that can cause swelling of the liver and brain. It mostly affects children and teenagers recovering from a viral infection, such as flu or chickenpox.

One of the symptoms of the flu or chicken pox are headache, so frequently parents give aspirin to children as the treatment.

Unfortunately, there is strong evidence that taking aspirin in children can increase the risk of Reye's syndrome. Therefore, consult your doctor before you give aspirin to children and teenagers.

Cause of Reye’s syndrome


Although the cause of Reye's syndrome has not been identified for sure, experts suspect that the disease is caused by a genetic disorder. It is suspected that small structures inside cells called mitochondria were damaged.

Mitochondria provides energy to cells and it is essential for healthy liver function. Without the energy supply, the heart fails. This can cause a dangerous buildup of toxic chemicals in the blood that can damage the body and cause the brain swelling.

In addition, blood sugar levels of Reye's syndrome the patient is decreased while ammonia and acid levels in the blood increase. At that time, the liver can become swollen and the accumulation of fat in the organ. Not only the liver but the brain may also get swelling causing seizures and loss of consciousness.

Symptoms of Reye's syndrome


Reye syndrome symptoms usually appear within three to five days after infection of flu or chickenpox. Shortness of breath and diarrhea are early symptoms usually experienced by children aged less than two years.

While in the older children, the early symptoms of Reye's syndrome can include lethargy, drowsiness, and vomiting continuously. If the condition worsens, the symptoms can become serious, including:

  • Confusion, disorientation, or even hallucinations.
  • Irritability and aggressive.
  • Body feels weak, and even experience paralysis of the legs and arms.
  • Seizures.
  • Decreased level of consciousness.

Complications of Reye's syndrome


With the development of methods of diagnosis and treatment of Reye's syndrome, most people with children and adolescents can fully recover from this condition.

However, in some cases, Reye's syndrome can cause a person to experience permanent brain damage due to swelling of the brain.

Other complications that may occur include:

  • Deficits in memory and ability to concentrate.
  • Speech and language difficulties.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Decrease in vision or hearing.
  • Difficulty in performing activities of daily living (such as dressing or to the bathroom).

Reye's syndrome Diagnosis


Until now, there is still no specific diagnostic tool for Reye's syndrome. Diagnosis is usually made by a variety of blood tests, urine, and tests to check the fatty acid oxidation disorders or other metabolic impairment. Sometimes, it takes a further examination, such as:

By taking a fluid sample from the brain to rule out other diseases that have similar symptoms such as Reye's syndrome, such as meningitis and encephalitis.

CT scan or MRI to rule out other possible causes in the brain that lead to changes in patient behavior.

Biopsy of the liver or liver tissue sampling rule out other possible causes disturbances in the liver.
A skin biopsy is for checking the presence of fatty acid oxidation disorders and other metabolic disorders.

Reye's syndrome Treatment


Reye's syndrome can develop into an emergency situation, so, the early treatment is needed. A child with Reye's syndrome usually have to be hospitalized. For severe cases, the patient will be treated in the intensive care unit.

Until now, still undiscovered cure for Reye's syndrome. Treatment is given only to reduce symptoms and prevent complications. doctor will ascertain the condition of the body's hydration and keep fluid balance.

Treatment given can be:
Intravenous fluids containing glucose and electrolytes, to maintain the balance of salinity, nutrients, minerals, and sugars in the blood.

Diuretics, in order to get rid of excess fluid in the body and relieve swelling in the brain.
Plasma, vitamin K, and platelets, in order to prevent bleeding as a result of organ disorders
Ammonia detoxican, in order to reduce ammonia levels in the body.

Anticonvulsants, to prevent and to treat seizures.

Besides a breathing machine may be used if the patient suffered respiratory failure.

Once the swelling on the brain was gone, other body functions will return to normal within a few days. Nevertheless, it took several weeks until the patient is well enough to leave hospital.

Reye's Syndrome Prevention


With the alleged link between aspirin to Reye's syndrome, so be careful in giving aspirin to children under the age of 16 years. In addition, children also should not use medicinal products containing acetylsalicylic, salicylic, acetylsalicylic acid, salicylic acid and salicylate salts.

If  kids have flu, chickenpox or other viral infections, you use acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to treat symptoms of fever and pain.

When considered should receive aspirin therapy, make sure your child vaccines needs including two doses of chickenpox vaccine and an annual flu vaccine has been fulfilled, because studies have shown that avoiding these two diseases can prevent the occurrence of Reye's syndrome.


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