Aspirin and Reye Syndrome

Reye syndrome is a rare disease that occurs almost exclusively in children younger than age 15 and can cause severe liver and brain damage. Taking aspirin during a viral infection seems to significantly raise the risk of developing Reye syndrome, so do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless told to do so by a doctor.

Reye syndrome can occur when a child seems to be recovering from a viral infection such as a cold, flu, or chickenpox. Symptoms include vomiting, lack of energy, excessive sleepiness, memory loss, confusion, and coma.

Current as of: August 21, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Chuck Norlin, MD - Pediatrics