Understanding Pink Eye in Babies
Things are not looking good. Your little one’s eyes are red and watery. It seems like they have come down with a mean infection. Fortunately, it looks a lot worse than it seems! The downside is, pink eyes in babies can create a whole lot of discomfort.
It’s only natural that one must delve deeper into understanding pink eye, one of the most common eye infections in children and adults the world over.
What Pink Eye really is
The official term for pink eye, one that you might have heard often, is conjunctivitis. Broadly speaking, it is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, or the membrane lining the eyes and the lids. Pink eye in babies is essentially characterized by the white part of the eye turning pink or red.
In the case of pink eye in a newborn baby, the blood vessels of the eye become inflamed due to an irritant, infection or allergies. They can develop pink eye in one or both eyes, and some types of pink eye can be very contagious.
What Causes Pink Eye
Many baby shampoo brands have ingredients that can lead to itchiness or redness in your child’s eyes, similar to the infectious variant of pink eye can be caused by many of the bacteria and viruses that are responsible for colds and other infections like ear infections, sinus infections and sore throats. The following are a couple of types of conjunctivitis that are noninfectious.
- Allergic conjunctivitis. This happens more often in kids with other allergic conditions like hay fever.
Triggers: grass, pollen, animal dander and dust mites.
- Irritant conjunctivitis. This is caused by anything that irritates the eyes.
Triggers: air pollution and even chlorine in pools.
How Long Pink Eye Lasts in Babies
You must be wondering how long pink eyes last in babies, right? The good news is, most of the time it clears up in only a short matter of time.
While viral pink eye usually clears up without treatment in 7 to 14 days, mild bacterial pink eye almost always improves within 10 days. In fact, antibiotics should start clearing the infection within 24 hours of beginning to use them.
Pink Eye Symptoms in Babies and toddlers
Here are some of the signs that will not only ascertain your child has pink eyes, but shine a light towards its underlying cause, too.
Viral Pink Eye
- One or both of the eyes is pink.
- The eye is watery.
- The eye might burn.
- Your child might also have a cold or adenovirus infection (that causes fever and sore throat.)
Bacterial Pink Eye
- One or both eyes are pink or red.
- The eye has yellow or green discharge.
- The eye might hurt.
- Your child has an accompanying ear infection.
Pink Eye from an Allergy
- Both eyes are red and teary.
- The nose is stuffy, runny and itchy.
- Other allergy-like symptoms develop when local pollen counts are high.
How to Treat Pink Eye in babies
This is undoubtedly the part you’ve been waiting for. How to treat pink eye in babies is best determined by looking for the underlying cause. For instance, if the cause is irritation, there’s no treatment necessary – that pink eye will vanish in a mere day or two.
If your doctor feels that your child’s pink eye stems from an allergy, they might recommend allergy testing. However, if there’s a bacterial infection at play, they will prescribe an antibiotic eye drop or ointment.
If a virus is the cause, no antibiotic is going to work. All you have to do is wait it out, armed with the knowledge that the infection will go away on its own, in due course of time.
If there’s a blocked tear duct that’s responsible for your child’s pink eye, however, you will be asked to gently massage your baby’s eye and nasal area with a warm compress several times a day. Note: Most blocked tear ducts heal by a child’s first birthday.
At EuroKids, your child’s health is our utmost priority. We make sure to ensure our environment is conducive to children who are prone to developing allergies, by ensuring our classrooms are dust-free. We encourage little ones to wash their hands frequently and avoid rubbing their eyes and even sharing personal items, to reduce the occurrence of pink eye and other infections.