Most medications will tell you that anyone over the age of twelve take so many tablets, capsules, doses, etc; and then under that it says people under twelve should have a doctor’s consultation first. This is also true for pain killers, however, if you call up your doctor and ask them what sort of pain killers to give your poor child, they are likely going to warn you not to give them aspirin under any circumstances.
I personally didn’t know this one until recently (but I don’t have kids and would be super nervous about giving any kid any medicine). Something in aspirin reacts with viral infections and has the potential to cause Reye’s Syndrome. However, the combination of aspirin and a viral infection is not the only way to develop Reye’s Syndrome. Children between 4 and 14 are more likely to be affected by the aspirin and Reye’s Syndrome combination but it is possible for anyone of all ages to develop it.
Reye’s Syndrome causes the brain and liver to swell up. It can start off disguised as other illnesses (the common cold, influenza, a diarrheal illness, chicken pox) and causes frequent vomiting, diarrhea and rapid breathing in babies, tiredness, and irritability. Later, symptoms evolve to include problems with vision, hearing, and speech. The victim may act irrationally or confused, they may have muscle weakness or seizures, or may even lose consciousness.
There is, unfortunately, no cure for Reye’s Syndrome and those with it must be treated at a hospital where supportive treatment will be supplied. It’s best to catch this sort of thing as soon as possible, so please get medical help immediately if your child displays the frequent vomiting, strange behaviour, or is more tired than normal. If the illness reaches the later stages before any treatment is done, the results range from brain damage, disability, or even death.
Prevention! Do not give anyone aspirin if they have chickenpox, influenza, or any other viral sicknesses. Other names for aspirin include acetylsalicylate, acetylsalicylic acid, salicylic acid, and salicylate. Talk to your doctor before giving children any medications, especially if you’re not sure whether or not it’s safe for them to take.