The dangers of aspirin use in children

The dangers of aspirin use in children

Aspirin comes in various forms; as a tablet, powder, in combination with other drugs or ingredients that treat pain, fever, flu or colds conditions. It is a common practice in our homes for elderly parents to crush Aspirin tablets and give to the kids for colds, flu, or fever.

Aspirin comes in various forms; as a tablet, powder, in combination with other drugs or ingredients that treat pain, fever, flu or colds conditions. It is a common practice in our homes for elderly parents to crush Aspirin tablets and give to the kids for colds, flu, or fever.

The one million dollar question is: Is this practice safe for the health of infants? If not, what is the major adverse effect of this? Aspirin must be used with caution in children and teenagers. But in infants, the use of Aspirin is prohibited owing to its link with Reye’s Syndrome.

Reye’s (Reye) syndrome is a rare but serious condition that causes swelling in the liver and brain. Reye’s syndrome most often affects children and teenagers recovering from a viral infection, most commonly the flu or chickenpox, so use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers for fever or pain; however those recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin.

Always check the label before you give your child medication, including over-the-counter products and alternative or herbal remedies.

Aspirin can show up in some unexpected places.Sometimes aspirin goes by other names, such as:
l Acetylsalicylic acidl Acetylsalicylatel Salicylic acidl SalicylateFor the treatment of fever or pain related to flu, chickenpox or another viral illness, consider giving your child infants’ or children’s over-the-counter fever and pain medications such as Paracetamol syrup as a safer alternative to aspirin.

SymptomsIn Reye’s syndrome, a child’s blood sugar level typically drops while the levels of ammonia and acidity in his or her blood rise. At the same time, the liver may swell and develop fatty deposits. Swelling may also occur in the brain, which can cause seizures, convulsions or loss of consciousness.

The signs and symptoms of Reye’s syndrome typically appear about three to five days after the onset of a viral infection, such as the flu (influenza) or chickenpox, or an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold.ComplicationsMost children and teenagers who have Reye’s syndrome survive, although varying degrees of permanent brain damage are possible.

Without proper diagnosis and treatment, Reye’s syndrome can be fatal within a few days. Let us protect our kids Basotho by avoiding over-the-counter use of Aspirin for kids. Infants are very fragile; medicines must thus be administered to them following a doctor’s advice

 l Retselisitsoe Nkhahle is Mosotho pharmacist based in Botswana. She is pursuing an Msc. 

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