Conjunctivitis: What To Know
By Odochi Nwagwu, MD
September 30, 2020
Category: Children's Health Care
Your child won’t stop rubbing their eyes. They say it’s incredibly itchy. When you go to examine it, you notice their eyes are also bloodshot and inflamed. Oh no, it sounds like conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye, is often a communicable eye infection that can be spread from person to person. If your child is dealing with symptoms of conjunctivitis you might want to visit your pediatric doctor to find out what to do.
What causes pinkeye?
In most cases, an infection is to blame. An infectious pink eye is contagious and may result from a sinus infection or ear infection. Some viruses or bacteria can lead to contagious forms of pinkeye; however, in some cases, pinkeye may develop as a result of allergies (e.g. ragweed; grass; dust mites) or being exposed to certain irritants or chemicals.
What happens if my baby has pinkeye?
If your newborn develops pinkeye you must seek pediatric care right away, as this condition can lead to severe complications if left untreated. In most cases, your newborn will be prescribed antibiotics eye drops to help clear the infection.
How do I know that it’s pinkeye?
There are a variety of telltale signs that your little one may be dealing with a nasty bout of pinkeye. If they are old enough to talk then they may tell you that their eyes feel gritty, like there is something in them. You may also notice a thick, gooey discharge. Their eyes may also be sensitive to light. Most pinkeye also causes swelling, itching, and eye pain.
How is pink eye treated in kids?
Apart from newborns, who require immediate medical attention for pinkeye, most kids and teens whose pinkeye is caused by a virus will go away without treatment once the body has fought the virus. However, if a bacterial infection is to blame, then antibiotic eye drops will be needed to treat the bacterial infection.
If your child is dealing with recurring bouts of pinkeye they could be dealing with allergic conjunctivitis, which you should also talk to your pediatrician about. They can prescribe certain allergy medications to your child to help lessen pinkeye flare-ups.
It’s important to find trustworthy pediatric care for your child or teen. Whether you are concerned with pinkeye, ADHD, or celiac disease, a pediatrician will be able to diagnose, manage, and treat a wide range of infections and conditions.