Your young child wakes up on a school day with his or her eyes covered in a crusty discharge. Do you get him ready for school or keep him home and call the doctor? Let’s learn what to do if you think your child has pink eye.
What Is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva which is the clear lining of the eyelids and covers the white areas of the eye. When the small blood vessels of the conjunctiva become inflamed, they are easier to see causing the whites of the eyes to look pink or red. Hence the name “pink eye.”
Types Of Conjunctivitis
There are several types of conjunctivitis.
Infectious or Bacterial Conjunctivitis
Infectious conjunctivitis, which is easily spread from child to child, is caused by bacteria or viruses that are common with children. These include ear infection, sore throat, sinus infections, and the common cold. You will find that the name “pink eye” does not always correlate with infectious conjunctivitis, but there are other clear symptoms. They include a thick yellow-green discharge from the eyes during the waking hours and a crust on the lashes and outer areas of the eye after sleeping.
Many times, this type of infection is associated with an ear infection as well. It is imperative that you call Davidson Family Medicine for an evaluation. Antibiotic drops will treat the pink eye, but not the ear infections, so your child will need an oral antibiotic too.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is contagious as long as there is discharge from the eyes or 24 hours after treatment begins with an antibiotic.
Viral Conjunctivitis is similar in all ways to bacterial conjunctivitis except it does not have a thick discharge. This type of infection is contagious even before there are symptoms and can continue as long as there are symptoms. This type is associated with upper respiratory infections like the common cold.
This is a result of an allergic reaction like hay fever. It is triggered by grasses, ragweed, animal dander, dust mites, and other seasonal and non-seasonal allergies. It is not infectious.
Your child may have itchy watery eyes but only a clear discharge. This is easily treated with an OTC allergy drop.
This type of inflammation is the result of any irritant in the environment like air pollution or chlorine in swimming pools. This is also not infectious.
If you have any doubts about whether your child has pink eye, it is always best to make an appointment with Davidson Family Medicine for the appropriate treatment.
For further information or to schedule a visit at our office in Davidson, NC, please call (704) 892-5454.