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Is Aspirin Safe for Children

Aspirin is a drug that is commonly used to reduce fever and to relieve aches and pains. It is also often used as an anti-inflammatory drug for those suffering from conditions such as arthritis. Aspirin is in many cases prescribed to those with heart conditions as it is known to thin the blood and prevent damage to cardiac tissue. Aspirin can be purchased over the counter without a prescription and an estimated 40,000 tonnes of aspirin is used around the world each year. So, is this commonly used medication safe for children? Read this article to find out.

Is aspirin safe for children?
It is recommended that aspirin not be given to children under the age of 12 years. This is due to one of aspirins rare side effects, known as Reye’s syndrome. Reye’s syndrome is a potentially fatal disease which causes damage to organs particularly the liver and brains. It also drops normal blood sugar levels resulting in hypoglycemia. Common symptoms of Reye’s syndrome are a rash, vomiting, rapid breathing, brain inflammation, mental confusion, convulsions, and liver damage. The cause of this disease is unknown, but it has been linked to aspirin use in children with viral illnesses. Statistics have shown that 90% of children who develop Reye’s syndrome have taken aspirin for fever or a viral illness, such as chicken pox, within a week or two of the syndrome’s onset. One third of children who develop this disease die and another third develop brain damage.

It is best to use a safer alternative such as paracetamol or ibuprofen which is not linked with the development of Reye’s syndrome. In some cases aspirin may be required for a condition that a child is suffering from, such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or Kawasaki’s disease, or when it is used as an anticoagulant. This must only be done under medical supervision and if you have any doubts you should seek medical attention.

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