Pink Eye

Pink Eye md top10mdYour child has pinkeye, now what? Nearly every child has experienced pinkeye at one point in time. Another name for pink eye is Conjunctivitis. It is an infection of the conjunctiva in the eye. Children are susceptible to pink eye more so than anyone else because they are not the best at washing their hands and keeping their hands out of their face and eyes. The hands carry a lot of bacteria, and when it reaches the eye, it brings about a host of problems. If you notice that your child may have pink eye, you must get them in to see a doctor right away. It is contagious, and the worst thing you can do is let it spread to everybody in the house.

Pinkeye is not a foreign condition, especially for children. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a total of 3 million total days of school is missed annually due to pinkeye. Since pinkeye is contagious, you cannot allow your child to go to school. It puts other children at risk for the disease. If a teacher notices your child might have pink eye, they will also send your child home. Pink eye is contagious, but it is not serious. It is not a disease that will cause blindness or anything like that. The discomfort from the symptoms is tremendous, so it is best to get treatment right away.

Cause

Different things can cause pinkeye. Both bacteria and viruses can be the culprit. The same things that cause the average cold and flu will cause pink eye when they come in contact with the conjunctiva of the eye. The conjunctiva is the white part of the eye. The same organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases also cause pinkeye.  If your child has allergies, they are at a higher risk for pink eye because allergens also cause pink eye. Most allergens related to pinkeye include grass, pollen, ragweed, and pet dander. There are environmental irritants as well that may cause pink eye. Smoke and fumes have a major effect and sometimes chlorine from pools can cause problems as well.

The Spread 

Pinkeye can spread in different ways. The first way is direct contact with the eye. If you have any bacteria or virus on your hands and then touch your eye, you will more than likely get pinkeye. You may also come in contact with someone who has it which puts you at risk for getting it as well. Direct contact is a common way for children to get pinkeye. You can also give yourself pink eye. Sometimes bacteria gets nestled in our sinus cavity. Since the sinuses are connected, any bacteria can easily spread. One of the last ways to get pinkeye is through your contacts. Younger children do not wear contacts, but teenagers and adults do; therefore, it is a common way for them to get pinkeye. If you do not clean your contacts properly and follow the directions on wearing them, you put yourself at a high risk of bacteria resting on the contacts and coming in contact with your eye.

Symptoms

pink eye infection kids kid child pediatrician doctor md top10mdThere are many symptoms to pink eye. One of the first symptoms is a pink or red look to the eye. Your eye will also feel extremely irritated. This irritation is due to inflammation in the eye. The eye is also very watery and has a lot of discharge. The discharge is mucousy and tends to be yellow in color. The eye is also itchy. Many children spread the disease because they rub in their eyes and then put their hands all over things. I am sure you can imagine how fast it can spread when the child is at school. They are putting their hands on toys and all kinds of things. Along with problems in the eyes, you may also notice symptoms in the nose. The nose can drain, and you may also have a lot of sneezing and coughing. You may think it is allergies, but it is just a result of the pinkeye.

Treatment

Pinkeye is typically treated with drops. Antibiotic eye drops help clear the eye of bacteria and bring relief. If the pinkeye is a result of a virus, there is no cure. Unfortunately, you have to let the pink eye run its course. It lasts a few weeks and eventually goes away. When allergies are the culprit, you can take allergy medicine and use cold packs to relieve you of your symptoms. Prevention is also important. You should do your best to wash your hands and try to keep your child’s hands clean. Wash your pillowcases and your towels. Do your best to try to keep your hands out of your eyes and try to keep your child’s hands out of their eyes as well.

Pinkeye is such a common thing that can not only affect children but adults as well. If your child has symptoms of pinkeye, make an appointment with a doctor. Do not let it run its course because it will continue to spread. It is good to clean your child’s pillow and sheets just to prevent the bacteria from getting into both of their eyes and preventing it from spreading to the whole family. Do not be alarmed; pink eye does not cause blindness or anything, but it can be a real discomfort.

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