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Reye's syndrome

What is Reye's syndrome?

Reye's syndrome is primarily a children's disease. However, it can occur at any age.

Reye's syndrome affects all organs of the body but is most harmful to the brain and the liver. Reye's syndrome causes an increase of pressure within the brain. It also causes accumulations of fat in the liver and other organs.

Reye's syndrome usually occurs during recovery from a viral infection.

Reye's syndrome is often misdiagnosed as encephalitis, meningitis, diabetes, drug overdose, poisoning, SIDS, or psychiatric illness.

Reye's syndrome is not contagious. Reye's syndrome is also called RS.

Symptoms of Reye's syndrome

The symptoms for Reye's Syndrome are listed below. If you believe you or someone you know has Reye's syndrome, it is important that they get medical attention immediately.

The most common symptoms of Reye's syndrome are:

  • vomiting
  • listlessness
  • irritability or combativeness
  • disorientation or confusion
  • delirium
  • convulsions
  • loss of consciousness

If these symptoms are present during or soon after a viral illness, medical attention should be sought immediately. The symptoms of Reye's syndrome in infants do not follow a typical pattern; for example, vomiting does not always occur.

What causes Reye's syndrome?

The exact cause of Reye's syndrome is unknown. However, studies have shown that taking aspirin or salicylate-containing medications to treat viral illnesses increases the risk of developing Reye's syndrome.

Treatment Options

If discovered early enough, Reye's Syndrome can be treated. However, there is no cure. Treatments are aimed at protecting the brain against irreversible damage, preventing complications to other organs and fighting against cardiac arrest.

What happens after a person is diagnosed with Reye's Syndrome?

The recovery of the patient depends on how soon the illness is discovered. Some people will recover completely and some people will die. Death usually occurs within a couple days after the diagnosis. Recovery from Reye's Syndrome is directly related to the severity of the swelling of the brain.

If a person recovers from Reye's Syndrome, they may have slight motor disabilities, learning disabilities or more extreme brain disabilities.

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