The eye infection conjunctivitis (kun-junk-tih-VY-tus) — typically called pinkeye — is common in young kids. It’s typically contagious, and breakouts can sweep through preschools and playgrounds. However even teenagers and adults can get pinkeye.
Pinkeye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the white part of the eye and the inner eyelids. It’s a minor infection and although it may look bad, generally isn’t serious.
Still, if your child reveals signs of pinkeye, it’s crucial to see a doctor. Some sort of pinkeye go away on their own, however others need treatment.
What Causes Pinkeye in Toddlers?
Contagious pinkeye (the kind that can infect others) can be brought on by many of the bacteria and viruses accountable for colds and other infections — including ear infections, sinus infections, and sore throats. Often it’s triggered by the exact same types of bacteria that cause chlamydia and gonorrhea, two sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Some kinds of pinkeye are noninfectious, such as:
- allergic conjunctivitis, which occurs more frequently in kids with other allergic conditions, like hay fever. Triggers include turf, ragweed pollen, animal dander, and allergen.
- irritant conjunctivitis, triggered by anything that aggravates the eyes, such as air contamination or chlorine in pools.
Besides the obvious red or pink color that offers pinkeye its name, eye discomfort is a common symptom. Toddlers may say that it feels like there’s sand in the eye. Often, there’s some discharge from the eye, and pain and swelling of the conjunctiva. Some kids have swollen eyelids or sensitivity to bright light. Pinkeye can affect one or both eyes.
In cases of allergic conjunctivitis, irritation and watery eyes are common symptoms.
Is Pinkeye Contagious?
Pinkeye is contagious if it’s caused by bacteria or a virus:
- Pinkeye that’s triggered by bacteria can spread to others as quickly as symptoms appear and for as long as there’s discharge from the eye — or until 24 hours after antibiotics are started.
- Pinkeye that’s caused by a virus is typically contagious before symptoms appear and can remain so as long as the symptoms last.
Allergic conjunctivitis and irritant conjunctivitis are not contagious.
A child can get pinkeye by touching an infected individual or something an infected individual has touched, such as a used tissue. In the summer season, pinkeye can spread out when kids swim in polluted water or share contaminated towels. It likewise can spread through coughing and sneezing.
Likewise, somebody who has pinkeye in one eye can spread it to the other eye by rubbing or touching the infected eye, then touching the other eye.
How Is Pinkeye Diagnosed?
If you think your toddler has pinkeye, it is necessary to see your health care company to learn what’s causing it and how to treat it. Other major eye conditions can have similar symptoms, so a child who experiences severe pain, modifications in vision, swelling around the eyes, or sensitivity to light need to be analyzed.
If you can’t get an in-person see, you may be able to do a “video go to” instead. Telemedicine — when patients and healthcare companies use technology for the remote diagnosis and treatment of some health conditions — is ending up being a growing number of popular. Ask your health care provider if his or her practice takes part in telemedicine, and inspect with your insurance coverage service provider to see if this alternative is covered.
How Is Pinkeye Treated in Toddler?
Pinkeye brought on by an infection typically disappears with no treatment. Pinkeye brought on by bacteria is treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment.
It can be difficult to get kids to endure eye drops several times a day. If you’re having trouble, put the drops on the inner corner of your child’s closed eye — when your child opens the eye, the medicine will flow into it. If you still have trouble with drops, ask the doctor about antibiotic ointment, which can be put in a thin layer where the eyelids satisfy, and will melt and get in the eye.
If your toddler has allergic conjunctivitis, your doctor may recommend anti-allergy medicine, either as tablets, liquid, or eye drops.
You also can provide acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain (check directions for appropriate amount).
How Can I Help My Child Feel Better?
Using cool or warm compresses on the eyes might make your child more comfortable. Clean the edges of the infected eye carefully with warm water and gauze or cotton balls. This can also remove the crusts of dried discharge that make the eyelids stick in the morning.
If your child wears contact lenses, your doctor or optometrist may suggest that the lenses not be worn up until the infection is gone. Then, sanitize the lenses and their storage case a minimum of two times prior to letting your child use them again. If your child wears non reusable contact lenses, throw away the existing pair and use a new pair after the infection is gone.
Doctors generally recommend keeping kids with contagious conjunctivitis from school, childcare, or summertime camp for a short time.
Can Pinkeye Be Prevented?
Infectious conjunctivitis is extremely contagious, so teach kids to clean their hands well and frequently with warm water and soap. They also must not share eye drops, tissues, eye makeup, washcloths, towels, or pillowcases.
Make sure to wash your own hands well after touching an infected child’s eyes, and get rid of products like gauze or cotton balls after they’ve been used. Wash towels and other linens that the child has actually used in hot water individually from the rest of the family’s laundry to prevent contamination.
If you know your child is prone to allergic conjunctivitis, keep windows and doors closed on days when the pollen is heavy, and dust and vacuum frequently to limit allergy triggers. Irritant conjunctivitis can only be avoided by avoiding the irritating causes.
Screening and dealing with pregnant women for STDs can prevent many cases of pinkeye in newborns. A pregnant female may have bacteria in her birth canal even if she shows no symptoms, which is why prenatal screening is essential.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
If the pinkeye does not improve after 2 to 3 days of treatment, or after a week if neglected, call your doctor.
If your child has increased swelling, soreness, and inflammation in the eyelids and around the eye, along with a fever, call your doctor. Those symptoms may suggest the infection has started to spread out beyond the conjunctiva and will need more treatment.