- Reye’s syndrome is a rare illness, most common in children.
- It is a serious illness that can be harmful to the brain and the liver.
- Usually occurs in children who are recovering from a viral infection; which may include cold, flu, or chickenpox.
- Reye’s syndrome is commonly associated with the use of aspirin in children.
- To prevent Reye’s syndrome, aspirin (salicylates) should not be given to children.
Symptoms of Reye’s syndrome
- Symptoms can be very mild and may not be easily noticed.
- These symptoms can also can be very serious and may get worsen within few hours.
- Symptoms of Reye’s Syndrome may lead to death.
- Common symptoms include:
- Changes in level of consciousness
- Vomiting, Diarrhea
- Irritability and aggressive behavior
- Tachypnea (in children under 2 years old)
- Confusion, Lethargy, Seizures & Coma
Causes of Reye’s Syndrome
- The cause of Reye’s syndrome is not known yet.
- The use of aspirin to treat children with viral illness increases the chances of developing Reye’s syndrome.
Diagnosis of Reye’s Syndrome
- Diagnosis usually starts with blood and urine tests.
- Doctors may also test for metabolic disorders that could affect the liver.
- Sometimes more invasive tests are needed – lumbar puncture, liver biopsy, MRI, or CT.
Prevention of Reye’s syndrome
- Education – nurses should teach parents to avoid giving children aspirin
- Aspirin should not be given to any child under the age of 19
- Prevent viral illnesses in children, teach parents to make sure the child’s vaccinations are up to date.
Treatment for Reye’s Syndrome
- There is no cure for Reye’s syndrome.
- Early diagnosis helps towards successful treatment.
- A client with Reye’s Syndrome will be treated in the hospital, mostly in the intensive care unit (ICU).
- Treatments include:
- IV fluids and Diuretics
- Medicines to prevent bleeding
- Client may also need ventilator
Nursing Interventions – Prevent further complications
- Monitor vital signs – BP, RR, HR, Temp. Administer oxygen. Maintain airway.
- Monitor Intracranial Pressure and prevent seizures. Position to decrease ICP.
- Monitor blood glucose levels closely
- Intake and output, make sure to prevent fluid overload
- Assess hemodynamic status; monitor cardiac, respiratory and neurologic status.
- Administer medications per doctor’s orders, monitor for adverse effects, prevent injury and complications.
- Provide skin and mouth care, provide range of motion exercise to promote joint mobility.
- Provide supportive care for the client and the family members.
Reference: Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing 9th edition