Reye's Syndrome - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Reye's Syndrome

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If your child or teen or even college student gets flu or chicken pox never use aspirin. Pediatricians say it can cause brain damage from Reye's Syndrome.

"Is a devastating disease where they get fatty deposits in the brain and liver and these children can die so it's a terrible disease. Unfortunately I've had the opportunity to see it a number of times and the outcome is always bad."

But there's another problem Dr. Michael Wasserman is seeing - parents who already know not to give aspirin to a sick young person, but do not know that aspirin is hidden in many other over-the-counter products.

"I've seen several children and teenagers where the parents will come and say 'I gave my child Alka-Seltzer in the hopes of diminishing the symptoms and I full well understand it' but unfortunately they're giving a medication which does have a risk, not a great risk, but the risk of the disease is so bad and so devastating you don't need to go there."

All of these products have aspirin in them. Sometimes it is listed as aspirin but in the case of this Pepto-Bismol it is listed by one of its chemical names.

That's why even if you give your child or teenager Pepto-Bismol, you need to make sure that it has 'child' or 'children's' on the label.

Tylenol which is (acetaminophen) or Motrin or Advil which is ibuprofen are safe and not associated with Reye's Syndrome. Some parents make sure they don't make a mistake by sticking to products labeled children's.

"As far as I'm concerned anybody below age 20 should not have aspirin at all when they're sick," says Dr. Wasserman.

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