Reye Syndrome

Reye syndrome is a rare illness that can affect the blood, liver, and brain of someone who has recently had a viral infection. It always follows another illness. Although it mostly affects children and teens, anyone can get it. It can develop quickly and without warning. It is most common during flu season. Symptoms include

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Listlessness
  • Personality change – such as irritability, combativeness or confusion
  • Delirium
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness

If these symptoms occur soon after a viral illness, seek medical attention immediately. Reye syndrome can lead to a coma and brain death, so quick diagnosis and treatment are critical. Treatment focuses on preventing brain damage. There is no cure.

The cause of Reye syndrome is unknown. Studies have shown that taking aspirin increases the risk of getting it. Because of that, health care professionals now recommend other pain relievers for young patients.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Smallpox

Smallpox is a disease caused by the Variola major virus. Some experts say that over the centuries it has killed more people than all other infectious diseases combined. Worldwide vaccination stopped the spread of smallpox three decades ago. The last case was reported in 1977. Two research labs still keep small amounts of the virus. Experts fear bioterrorists could use the virus to spread disease.

Smallpox spreads very easily from person to person. Symptoms are flu-like. They include

  • High fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • A rash with flat red sores

There is no treatment. Fluids and medicines for pain or fever can help control symptoms. Most people recover, but some can die. Those who do recover may have severe scars.

The U.S. stopped routine smallpox vaccinations in 1972. Military and other high-risk groups continue to get the vaccine. The U.S. has increased its supply of the vaccine in recent years. The vaccine makes some people sick, so doctors save it for those at highest risk of disease.

Sore Throat

Your throat is a tube that carries food to your esophagus and air to your windpipe and larynx (also called the voice box). The technical name for the throat is pharynx.

You can have a sore throat for many reasons. Often, colds and flu cause sore throats. Other causes can include:

  • Allergies
  • Mononucleosis
  • Smoking
  • Strep throat
  • Tonsillitis

Treatment depends on the cause. Sucking on lozenges, drinking lots of liquids, and gargling may ease the pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help, but children should not take aspirin.

Toddler Health

Most young children get sick. It is hard for parents to know what is serious. You can learn what the common warning signs are. In the end, trust your intuition. If you are worried about your toddler, call your health care provider right away.

Well-child visits are important to your toddler’s health. Toddlers will get their recommended vaccines during these visits. Routine exams and screenings help you and your kids prevent and treat health problems as well as chart their growth and development.

Valley Fever

Valley Fever is a disease caused by a fungus (or mold) called Coccidioides. The fungi live in the soil of dry areas like the southwestern U.S. You get it from inhaling the spores of the fungus. The infection cannot spread from person to person.

Anyone can get Valley Fever. But it’s most common among older adults, especially those 60 and older. People who have recently moved to an area where it occurs are at highest risk for infection. Other people at higher risk include

  • Workers in jobs that expose them to soil dust. These include construction workers, agricultural workers, and military forces doing field training.
  • African Americans and Asians
  • Women in their third trimester of pregnancy
  • People with weak immune systems

Valley Fever is often mild, with no symptoms. If you have symptoms, they may include a flu-like illness, with fever, cough, headache, rash, and muscle aches. Most people get better within several weeks or months. A small number of people may develop a chronic lung or widespread infection.

Valley Fever is diagnosed by testing your blood, other body fluids, or tissues. Many people with the acute infection get better without treatment. In some cases, doctors may prescribe antifungal drugs for acute infections. Severe infections require antifungal drugs.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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