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Aspirin (ASA) 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 18 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.