While we think of the winter months as cold and flu season, it’s also prime time for conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye. Stemming from bacterial or viral infections, the condition causes redness, itchiness, and irritation. Pink eye, though, rarely interferes with your vision.
Conjunctivitis is contagious, and it shares symptoms with more serious eye conditions, so prompt diagnosis helps to limit the spread of the disease as well as ruling out other problems.
At Dr 2 Kids, Smita Tandon MD, we can help when your child comes down with pink eye. We’ll review their recent medical history and examine their eyes. That’s usually enough to confirm a conjunctivitis diagnosis or determine if the problem may have another cause.
Keeping your child comfortable at home is straightforward since, in most cases, pink eye stems from an adenovirus infection. As with a common cold, managing conjunctivitis is about treating the symptoms until the infection burns out. We’ve prepared a list of five of the best strategies for managing conjunctivitis at home.
1. Warm cloth cleansing
Pus is a common symptom of pink eye, and this sticky discharge dries quickly, forming a crusty deposit along the eyelids. Overnight, this crust can cause your child’s eyelid to stick closed. Clean away this pus and its crust with a soft cloth dampened with warm water. Use the cloth only once, and only on one eye (even if both eyes are affected) before washing. Pus from conjunctivitis can easily spread the infection to other people.
2. Cool compresses for irritation
Your child’s eye will feel distractingly irritated, and this could lead to rubbing due to the gritty, itchy feeling caused by pink eye inflammation. Using a cloth moistened with cool water can soothe the eye. Once again, take care to treat the cloth as a potential infecting source and wash it frequently. It’s possible to transfer the conjunctivitis infection to your child’s other eye with a cloth.
3. Over-the-counter medications
Use over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen in dosages suitable for your child. As well as easing the discomfort they feel, this class of medication can also ease the inflammation caused by pink eye.
4. Artificial tears
Another way to soothe your child’s eyes at home is with the use of over-the-counter artificial tear eye drops. Check with your pharmacist for a product suitable for children, and while it’s tempting, avoid drops that treat redness. Artificial tears resemble the composition of natural tears so they can clean your child’s eye as they provide relief.
5. Try to limit touching the eyes
The itching and irritation may make this difficult, especially for younger children. Touching the eyes is a primary route for spreading the virus. When they do touch their eyes, insist on a thorough hand washing. Keep track of any cloths, towels, or tissues that they touch and treat them accordingly.
At the first sign of pink eye, contact us at Dr 2 Kids, Smita Tandon MD to confirm your child’s diagnosis. Call us by phone, request an appointment online, and don’t forget that we offer telehealth services. We’re ready to help.