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Reye Syndrome

Reye syndrome is a collection of specific symptoms and signs rather than a single disease. It may occur shortly after a viral illness such as influenza or chickenpox, when the child seems to be recovering. Reye syndrome usually occurs in younger children, but it can also affect teenagers and sometimes adults. Reye syndrome is not contagious. This illness can be fatal.

What causes reye syndrome?

Unknown; a combination of factors have been suggested. Studies have shown a connection between Reye syndrome and the use of aspirin for viral illnesses such as influenza or chickenpox

How is reye syndrome spread?

Reye syndrome is not contagious

What are the symptoms of reye syndrome?

Persistent vomiting, extreme sleepiness, confusion, hostility, combativeness; coma may follow

How can I prevent infection?

1. Do not give aspirin to a child under 18 years of age with a viral illness.
2. Instruct children and teenagers to ask parents before taking any medicine.
3. If any of the above symptoms occur, call your physician or an emergency room immediately. Fast action is needed.
4. If the child has taken any medications, tell your health care provider.

For more information, please call the Northern Kentucky Health Department at 859.363.2070.

Revised July 2015