How to Know if Your Child has Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Your child comes to you with complaints of burning, itchy eyes. You instantly notice the redness, but you aren’t sure whether it’s the tears or their insistence on rubbing their eyelids non-stop. What do you do? A thick, sticky greenish-yellow mucus discharging from the corners of the eyes and crusting around that area give you a clue that your child may be suffering from a case of conjunctivitis, also known as “pinkeye”.
With a little bit of knowledge, parents can help to ease the symptoms and avoid others getting pinkeye.
What to do if my child gets pinkeye?
Begin by attempting to recognize the symptoms:
1. Redness and irritation as tiny blood vessels in the eye widen
2. Overactive tear glands
3. Grittiness in the eye
5. Swollen, tender lymph nodes in front of the ear
6. Reaction in a single eye first, then spread to the other
Eyes may become sore and inflamed from exposure to chemicals or irritants. An example would be chlorine from a swimming pool. Allergens like dust mites, pollen, or animal fur might cause the body’s immune system to overreact, leading to inflammation.
Infective conjunctivitis, in contrast, is caused by a bacteria or virus. Treatment for this differs from how a doctor treats irritant or allergen exposure. We arrive at a diagnosis by examining the child and asking questions. Adenovirus and herpesvirus cause pink eye, while infection can also result from bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumonia, or Haemophilus.
How to Prevent Yourself or Other Children from Getting Pinkeye
Even if you aren’t sure whether your child’s condition is contagious or not, avoid using contact lenses, throw them away and replace the lenses, along with the case and any used solution. Do not share personal items, such as towels, pillows, makeup, eyeglasses, or swimming goggles. Disinfect countertops and doorknobs. Throw tissues away after each use. Make sure rooms are well ventilated and air conditioning units are clean.
Should I Take My Child to a Doctor for Pinkeye?
A medical professional like the ones at Willis Urgent Care can examine your child and determine the cause, advising whether the condition is contagious.
Medical attention prevents complications and identifies and treats any underlying conditions. Consulting a medical professional is especially important if vision is affected, the eye becomes very sensitive to light, or the pain intensifies.
A provider at Willis Urgent Care may prescribe eye drops with an antihistamine to reduce the symptoms of irritation and swelling. You’re usually safe to resume normal activity 24 hours after starting antibiotics for bacterial pinkeye. Viral pinkeye remains contagious and can be spread as long as symptoms remain. If symptoms have lasted for more than 2 weeks, antibiotic eye drops are in order.
Chronic, recurring pinkeye can tell us about underlying medical conditions that may exist including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Kawasaki disease, inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis
Your child’s swollen pink or red eyes may be an allergic reaction or a viral infection. Symptoms will provide clues to let you know which may be the case, although it’s possible to be wrong when guessing.
For more information on Pink Eye see the following websites:
Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of Willis Urgent Care. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.