RadioMD: Healthy Children

Watch Out for Pinkeye

July 13, 20169 min
Keep that pinkeye from spreading with plenty of hand washing.Pinkeye can be one of the worst experiences for a child. Itchy, watery, sensitive eyes that develop a crust are telltale signs of pinkeye. It's very contagious, prompting daycares and schools to send the affected children home until the condition is gone.You don't want your child to be the reason for the dreaded pinkeye letter to be distributed to all the parents. Bacterial pinkeye or conjunctivitis is highly contagious. It can affect one or both eyes. Symptoms include redness, itchiness and watering of the eye. There may be a green or yellow discharge. Bacterial pinkeye can lead to an eye crusting shut overnight.Viral conjunctivitis is also contagious. The eye or eyes are red, watery and light sensitive. It will go away after five to seven days.Both bacterial and viral pinkeye are treated with eye drops, warm compresses and lots of hand washing. If your child has crusty eyes clean the area with a warm, wet washcloth. Do not reuse the washcloth. You may choose to wear gloves when treating the eye. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water immediately.Allergies can also cause conjunctivitis. Allergy-caused pinkeye is not contagious. Anti-allergy eyedrops typically help.One of the best steps you can take to prevent pinkeye is to be mindful about where your child plays. If you see a bunch of sick kids playing in the ball pit, find something else to do. If your child insists on playing in an area of concern, be sure you child doesn't touch his face while playing and washes his hands with soap and water after playtime.If your child experiences any swelling in the eye area then take him to the pediatrician right away. Avoid the spread of the infection to other areas of the face and the brain.Listen in as Naveen Mehrotra, MD, shares what you need to know about conjunctivitis.

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