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Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School
Fall River - Somerset - Swansea - Westport

Marta Montleon, Superintendent-Director
mmontleon@dimanregional.org

Brian S. Bentley, Assistant Superintendent-Director/Principal
bbentley@dimanregional.org
251 Stonehaven Road
Fall River, Massachusetts 02723

Telephone 508-678-2891
FAX 508-679-6423

REYE'S SYNDROME ALERT

Reye's Syndrome is a very serious disease that you should know about. Some people develop Reye's Syndrome as they are getting over a viral illness like the flu or chicken pox. Reye's Syndrome usually affects people from infancy through young adulthood; however, no age group is immune. It can develop 3 to 5 days after the onset of chicken pox, upper respiratory infection, or other fever-causing illnesses. It affects the liver and brain, is non-contagious, and is often mis-diagnosed as encephalitis meningitis, diabetes, poisoning, drug overdose or sudden infant death.

Typically, Reye's occurs when someone is recovering from a viral illness and begins to feel better. A person's life can depend on early diagnosis. Watch for these symptoms, usually occurring in this order:

  • Relentless or continuous vomiting
  • Listlessness (loss of pep and energy with little interest in their environment)
  • Drowsiness (excessive sleepiness)
  • Personality change (such as irritability, slurred speech, sensitivity to touch)
  • Disorientation or confusion (unable to identify whereabouts, family members or answer questions)
  • Combativeness (striking out at those trying to help)
  • Delirium, convulsions or loss of consciousness

Reye's Syndrome should be suspected in anyone who vomits repeatedly. Phone your doctor immediately if these symptoms develop. Voice your concern about Reye's Syndrome. If your physician is unavailable, take the person to an Emergency Room promptly. Two liver function tests (SGOT, SGPT) can be done to determine the possibility of Reye's Syndrome. There is a 90% chance of recovery when the syndrome is treated in its earliest stages by physicians and nurses experienced in the treatment of Reye's.

Studies have shown that using aspirin or aspirin-containing medications to treat the symptoms of viral illnesses the chance of developing Reye's Syndrome. If you or a member of your family have a flu-like illness, do not use aspirin or aspirin-containing medications. In fact, you should consult your physician before you take any drugs to treat the flu or chicken pox, particularly aspirin or anti-nausea medicines. Anti-nausea medicines may mask the symptoms of Reye's Syndrome.

The National Reye's Syndrome Foundation (NRSF), the U.S. Surgeon General, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control recommend that aspirin and combination products containing aspirin not be taken by anyone under 19 years of age during fever-causing illnesses.

Aspirin is a part of the salicylate family of medicines. Another name for aspirin is acetylsalicylate; some drug labels may use the words acetylsalicylate, acetylsalicylic acid, salicylic acid or salicylate instead of the word aspirin. Currently, there is no conclusive data as to whether other forms of salicylate are associated with the development of Reye's Syndrome. Until further research has answered this question, the NRSF recommends that products containing any of these substances should not be taken during episodes of viral infections.

The NRSF is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization with affiliates located in 45 states. The NRSF has pioneered the movement to disseminate knowledge about the disease in an effort to aid in early diagnosis and also provides funds for research into the causes, cure, care, treatment and prevention of Reye's Syndrome.

For a free brochure, write: National Reye's Syndrome Foundation
P.O. Box 829S, Bryan, Ohio 43506
or call 419/636-2679 or toll free 800/233/7393
Ohio residents call 800/231-7393

Please refer any questions you may have about this notice to the School Nurses' Office at extension 1770 or extension 1771

From the Diman Employee Handbook.

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