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
- Personality change - such as irritability, combativeness or confusion
- 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
- Ammonia Test (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
- Medications Containing Aspirin (Acetylsalicylate) and Aspirin-Like Products (National Reye's Syndrome Foundation) - PDF
- After Reye's Syndrome (National Reye's Syndrome Foundation)