Reye's syndrome is often diagnosed in an emergency situation because of serious signs and symptoms, such as seizures or loss of consciousness. In some cases, early signs and symptoms prompt a doctor's appointment.
You'll likely be referred to a doctor who specializes in conditions of the brain and nervous system (neurologist).
Because appointments can be brief and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it can help to be well-prepared. Here are some tips to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
- Write down any symptoms your child is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, including vitamins, dietary supplements and over-the-counter drugs, that your child has taken, especially any containing aspirin. Even better, take the original bottles and a written list of the dosages and directions.
- Take along a family member or friend. It can be difficult to recall all the information provided to you during an appointment. The person who accompanies you may remember something that you forgot or missed.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Don't be afraid to ask questions or to speak up when you don't understand something your doctor says.
List your questions from most important to least important in case your time with your doctor runs out. For Reye's syndrome some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What are other possible causes for my child's symptoms?
- What tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis?
- What are the treatment options and the pros and cons for each?
- What results can I expect?
- What kind of follow-up should I expect?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
The neurologist is likely to ask about your child's symptoms and history of viral illnesses. The doctor will also conduct a medical exam and schedule tests to gather information about your child's condition and to rule out other diseases, such as meningitis or encephalitis.
Aug. 12, 2014
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- NINDS Reye's syndrome information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/reyes_syndrome/reyes_syndrome.htm. Accessed May 25, 2014.
- What is Reye's syndrome? National Reye's Syndrome Foundation. http://www.reyessyndrome.org/what.html. Accessed May 25, 2014.
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- Medications containing aspirin (acetylsalicylate) and aspirin-like products. National Reye's Syndrome Foundation. http://www.reyessyndrome.org/. Accessed May 28, 2014.
- Renaud DL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 2, 2014.