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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.
Last Revised: May 16, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Chuck Norlin, MD - Pediatrics
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