GUILLAIN-BARRQE SYNDROME (Infectious Polyneuritis; Acute Idiopathic Polyneuritis)
(Infectious Polyneuritis; Acute Idiopathic Polyneuritis)
Guillain-Barrqe syndrome is an inflammatory condition of nerves and muscles that causes rapid weakness and loss of sensation. The central nervous system--including the brain, the coverings of the brain (meninges), and the spinal cord -- and peripheral nerves and muscles are involved. Guillain-Barrqe syndrome can affect both sexes, all ages, but occurs far more commonly in adults than children.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Self-care after diagnosis.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSMuscle weakness in hands and feet, arms and legs, abdomen and chest. The weakness spreads within 72 hours; it may create life-threatening breathing difficulty for your child.
Shock (weakness, faintness, cold hands and feet, rapid heartbeat, sweating).
Complete paralysis (sometimes) for weeks or months.
Unknown, but it may be an autoimmune disorder. It sometimes follows an immunization or minor surgery.
RISK FACTORSRecent surgery.
Recent illness, such as a minor respiratory infection, gastroenteritis, Hodgkin's disease, or lupus erythematosus.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCECannot be prevented at present.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory study of spinal fluid.
Paralysis of eyelid muscles, resulting in eye damage.
Pressure sores, if the child is immobilized.
Constipation or fecal impaction.
Complete recovery without residual effects in most cases. Some persons recover in 15 to 20 days, while others require a year or more. Many mechanical devices can aid mobility until your child recovers.
Urge your child to remain mentally and socially active during recovery.
Encourage coughing to rid the child's lungs of mucus.
MEDICATIONLaxatives to prevent constipation.
Cortisone drugs, although they are not always effective.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
Your child should remain as active as muscle strength permits. Have a family member or visiting nurse passively move and stretch the child's muscles.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet. Your child should drink at least 8 glasses of fluid a day to prevent constipation.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?No, not until the illness has run its course and the child's strength returns to normal.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of Guillain-Barrqe syndrome.
The following occurs during treatment:
-- Breathing difficulty.
-- Sores on the child's skin.
-- Vision changes.
-- Swollen or tender calves.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.