Did you know that you should not give aspirin to anyone under the age of 18 if they have recently received a vaccine? Other times children should never be given aspirin are when they have the chickenpox, flu, or any undiagnosed illnesses. In each of these case, taking aspirin increases the risk of your child developing Reye’s syndrome.
What is Reye’s Syndrome
Although this is a rare disorder, most commonly seen in children, Reye’s syndrome is a very serious disorder that can cause brain and liver damage. The symptoms associated with Reye’s syndrome come on very quickly and generally appear over the course of several hours. They normally start with vomiting and are quickly followed by irritability or aggression.
Children may become confused and lethargic and can have seizures or fall into a coma. Reye’s syndrome causes swelling in the brain which can lead to brain damage. It also causes liver damage. Although there is no cure for Reye’s syndrome, it can be managed with medications to reduce brain swelling.
Reye’s syndrome rarely results in death; however, it can cause varying degrees of brain damage. If you notice any signs of Reye’s syndrome you should see a doctor immediately to decrease potential damage to the brain and liver. Signs of confusion, acting lethargic, or any other mental symptoms require immediate attention – head to the closest emergency room if you notice any of these symptoms.
Aspirin and Reye’s
Children should never be given aspirin on a regular basis. Reye’s syndrome almost always occurs in children who have had a recent viral infection and children that have any type of metabolic disorder – especially if they’ve taken aspirin. If your child has a headache, which could be a sign of a viral infection, do not give them aspirin. Instead, use Tylenol (acetaminophen) and never treat a headache with aspirin.
Fevers should also only be treated with Tylenol. If headaches or fever persist with only the use of Tylenol, you should see a doctor. You should also consult a doctor before giving any child under the age of 12 aspirin for any reason.