What are the Symptoms of 'Pinkeye'?
How to Know if Your Child has Conjunctivitis and Treat this Highly Contagious Condition
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 a Child Gets Pinkeye
Begin by attempting to recognize the symptoms:
- Redness and irritation as tiny blood vessels in the eye widen
- Overactive tear glands
- Grittiness in the eye
- Swollen, tender lymph nodes in front of the ear
- 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 Treat the Symptoms of Pinkeye at Home
Wash your hands carefully. Use a warm compress to soothe discomfort. A clean, lint-free cloth soaked in warm water and gently applied to the closed eye should provide some relief. Use a different washcloth for each eye and use clean washcloths each application. Wipe from the inside to the outside of the eye to remove crusty discharge from the eyes.
Relieve physical discomfort with ibuprofen or another over-the-counter painkiller.
Never put anything in the eye that isn’t approved by a doctor. Home remedies may not be sterile and end up making things worse. Avoid Visine and other red-reducing eye drops, which can make your child’s symptoms feel worse.
Be patient. It may take 24 to 36 hours for symptoms to fade.
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 our pediatric walk in clinic Chattanooga 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 doctor 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.
It is especially important to take a newborn with conjunctivitis to a doctor because the pink eye may be a symptom of an underlying condition and lead to serious complications if left untreated. Meningitis, Cellulitis, and blood poisoning are possible in some cases, although most infants will make a full recovery.
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. Our Chattanooga walk in clinic for kids can serve as an important resource when parents do not wait until the morning to see a child’s regular pediatrician before doing something to help pinpoint the immediate issue and relive their suffering.
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. Taking your child to a Chattanooga pediatric urgent care clinic can lead to a better diagnosis than guessing and provide relief for your little one. Reserve a spot for your child by calling us at 423-648-6483.
Learn more at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/157671.php National Eye Institute: https://nei.nih.gov/health/pinkeye/pink_facts Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/features/conjunctivitis/index.html Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pink-eye/symptoms-causes/syc-20376355
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