What Should I Do If My Newborn Has Pink Eye
Parents should take a newborn baby to be seen by a doctor if the infant develops pink eye. Persistent, watery discharge may be due to a blocked tear duct, but the eye will not usually be red. A blocked tear duct will often clear up on its own.
In other cases in newborns, there may be a more serious infection that requires medical attention.
Third Step: Dont Let Anyone Else Get It
Pink eye is highly contagious. Because youre trying to get rid of it fast, you dont want to give it to someone else and then get it right back after your first round resolves.
To do this, practice some eye hygiene tips:
- Change your pillowcase and sheets every day.
- Use a clean towel every day.
- Wash your hands after you come in contact with potentially contaminated items and after you touch your eyes.
- Toss contact lenses that may have come in contact with your eyes as you were getting pink eye.
- Toss mascara and clean eye makeup brushes with soap and water to prevent recontamination.
Dont share anything that touches your eyes with others.
Avoid Touching The Eyes
Certain types of pink eye, such as bacterial or viral pink eye, are very contagious. Touching the eye can spread the infection to the other eye or to other people. It may also exacerbate the symptoms.
If a person needs to touch their eyes, such as when they are cleaning them, they should wash their hands thoroughly before and afterward. It is important not to reuse any tissues, washcloths, or towels that have been in contact with the affected eye. A person should also avoid wearing contact lenses or eye makeup until the symptoms have gone.
As pink eye has multiple possible causes, it also has several treatment options. The three primary causes of pink eye are:
- allergens, such as pollen or pet dander
Bacterial pink eye is relatively easy to diagnose because the eye it affects often produces thick pus. In contrast, the discharge from viral and allergic pink eye looks more like water.
Viral infections usually clear up without treatment within Sometimes , a herpes infection causes pink eye. A person should speak with a doctor if this happens, as they will need antiviral medication to prevent complications.
Bacterial infections may improve within 2â5 days without treatment, although antibiotic eye drops can speed up the recovery. Antibiotics will not help with any other type of pink eye.
In cases of allergic pink eye, the symptoms will improve once the person no longer has exposure to the allergen.
How Can I Prevent Pink Eye
Avoiding pink eye can be tricky, as it is highly contagious. People should try to avoid close contact with anyone who has pink eye until their symptoms have cleared.
Everyone can take precautions, such as:
- not touching or rub eyes
- washing hands well, especially before inserting or removing contacts
- not sharing personal items
- keeping contacts and glasses thoroughly clean
- washing clothes, towels, and pillowcases regularly
- staying at home when infected
What Is The Treatment For Pink Eye
Treatment for pink eye depends on the cause.
Viral conjunctivitis treatment includes:
- Topical antihistamine/decongestant eye drops to relieve eye irritation
- Drops are usually available without a prescription
- Take care to avoid spreading the viral infection from one eye to the other
- Apply drops to the affected eye only, and wash hands thoroughly after application
- Antibiotic eye drops or ointment
- Most cases go away on their own even if no treatment is used
- Contact lens wearers should not wear lenses the first 24 hours of treatment, or until the eye is no longer red
- Discard contact lens cases and disinfect contacts overnight or replace
Allergic conjunctivitis treatment includes:
- Eye drops containing naphazoline-pheniramine, ketotifen, olopatadine, and others
Toxic conjunctivitis treatment includes:
- Removal of the offending agent
- Stop using any topical eye medications
- Dont stop taking any prescribed eye medications without first talking to your doctor, especially glaucoma drops, because increased eye pressure may cause permanent vision loss
Nonspecific conjunctivitis treatment includes:
- Usually goes away on its own within a few days without treatment
- Lubricant drops or ointments may ease symptoms as the eye heals
Some home remedies to get rid of pink eye symptoms fast include:
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See A Doctor Right Away If You Think You Have Measles
Pink eye can be a manifestation of measles. It may happen before you see a measles rash, or you can have both the rash and eye symptoms.
While vaccinations have made measles less common, doctors have reported cases in the United States. Signs your pink eye could be related to measles include:
- You havent been vaccinated, and theres an outbreak in the area.
- You also have symptoms like a very high fever and a red, blotchy rash.
- Youre very sensitive to all light, including indoor light.
Measles can permanently damage the eyes. If you suspect your pink eye may be measles-related, see an eye doctor right away.
Who Gets Pink Eye
Everyone is at risk for pink eye. But school-aged kids are the most susceptible. Children come into close physical contact with other children during the day. Adults who live with kids who have been exposed to pink eye are prime candidates for infection as well.
Kids are the main culprit, Dr. Robert Noecker, an ophthalmologist, told Healthline.
Noecker explained that both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are very robust. They can live on a doorknob for a week, he said. He recommended thoroughly washing hands to prevent transmission.
The best way to prevent the spread of pink eye is to practice good hygiene. Here are some tips:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Change your pillowcases often.
- Dont share towels, and use clean towels daily.
- Dont share eye cosmetics, and throw away any eye cosmetics youve used while treating pink eye.
Should I Go To The Doctor For Pink Eye
You dont necessarily need to see a doctor for pink eye. Most of the time, you can treat the symptoms at home until it goes away on its own. But you should never hesitate to call your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
Some symptoms can be a sign of a serious problem, such as an ulcer, which can result in permanent vision loss. Call your healthcare provider or seek medical care right away if you experience:
- An increase in sensitivity to light, especially if its severe.
- Feeling like there is something stuck in your eye.
- Large amount of discharge from your eyes.
- Worsening symptoms.
Antibiotics For Viral Pink Eye
If you catch pinkeye, you might automatically think you need antibiotics. Thats not necessarily the case unless you have the bacterial type, which is actually less common. Most people only associate pinkeye with bacteria, or assume that when they have pink eye its from a bacterial infection, says Rice. However, the most common kind of pink eye that we see is viral.
Unfortunately, antibiotics arent appropriate for viral pink eye just like they arent appropriate for other viruses you might catch. So, if you do have viral pink eye, theres not much doctors can recommend for treatment besides the supportive care previously mentioned cool compresses or eye rinses, hydrating eye drops and waiting it out.
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Who Needs Antibiotics To Treat Pink Eye
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the signature symptom of bacterial pink eye is a greenish discharge that lasts all day.
If youve been experiencing this discharge in addition to symptoms of redness and itching, you may have bacterial pink eye. This type of pink eye is less common than viral pink eye, but its not rare.
Antibiotics can work to treat bacterial pink eye. But even when bacteria are causing your pink eye, it will most likely clear up on its own after a couple of days.
For this reason, doctors dont always prescribe antibiotics right away to treat bacterial pink eye.
Your doctor may recommend antibiotics if:
- you have a weakened immune system due to another health condition
- your symptoms are very severe
- your symptoms have persisted for a week or more
Some schools have a policy that requires children or employees with pink eye to be treated with antibiotics before they can return.
Antibiotics for pink eye typically come in the form of eye drops. These medications are by prescription only.
A of studies found that the choice of antibiotic often didnt matter. They all have similar effectiveness.
Below are a few types of antibiotics that your doctor may prescribe.
Can You Treat Pink Eye At Home With Natural Remedies
Over-the-counter and home remedies can help to safely ease the symptoms of conjunctivitis. Some of the most effective ways to reduce any discomfort are:
Using warm or cool compresses.
Using artificial tears to lubricate the eyes.
Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medication.
Avoiding use of any redness-reducing eye drops.
However, natural treatments are a different story. While some of them can be helpful, they may also be dangerous without a doctors guidance. Never use natural treatments for pink eye on yourself or your child without talking to your eye doctor first.
In fact, its important to see an eye doctor any time the symptoms are severe or last more than a few days. Certain types of conjunctivitis can have serious consequences, including vision loss. Plus, they share many of the same symptoms as other vision-threatening conditions, including:
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Do You Have To Go To The Doctor
Always check with your doctor if your baby or toddler has any kind of eye infection or changes to the eye or eyelid. Their eyes are so sensitive, and its best to be safe!
How serious pink eye is depends on the cause and your babys age. Pink eye in toddlers is normally mild and will go away in 1 or 2 days without treatment.
Pink eye in a newborn should always be looked at by a doctor. A serious pink eye infection may need treatment, including medication. Not getting treatment may damage babys eyes or cause other health complications.
Other Treatments For Pink Eye
Viral pink eye tends to last around 5-7 days although it can last up to three weeks. Viral pink eye usually doesnt require medical treatment. Keep your child at home until their symptoms start to improve, which usually happens in about 3-5 days.
Bacterial pink eye symptoms may last for 7-10 days. But this window, and the time your child has to stay at home, can be shortened by using prescription antibiotics. Once your child starts a course of antibiotics, theyre typically safe to return to school or other activities after 24 hours if their symptoms have improved.
Allergy-related pink eye, like other allergic reactions, can be relieved by identifying and removing the allergen affecting your child. A care provider can recommend and prescribe antihistamines, decongestants and other medicines for symptom relief.
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Medication Can Help Alleviate Pink Eye Symptoms
Sometimes, pink eye doesnt require medicine it simply goes away on its own. Other times, medication is recommended to reduce the severity and duration of the condition. Remember to ask your doctor about any pink eye or conjunctivitis medications or remedies before trying them.
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When To Seek Medical Care
You should see a healthcare provider if you have conjunctivitis along with any of the following:
- pain in the eye
- sensitivity to light or blurred vision that does not improve when discharge is wiped from the eye
- intense redness in the eye
- symptoms that get worse or dont improve, including pink eye thought to be caused by bacteria which does not improve after 24 hours of antibiotic use
- a weakened immune system, for example from HIV infection, cancer treatment, or other medical conditions or treatments
Newborns with symptoms of conjunctivitis should be seen by a doctor right away.
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How Long Is Pinkeye Contagious
Viral or bacterial pinkeye is contagious. Viral pink eye is contagious before symptoms appear and for as long as symptoms are present. Bacterial pink eye is contagious as long as someone is symptomatic, if there is discharge from the eye, or until 24 hours after starting antibiotics.
Allergic conjunctivitis and irritant conjunctivitis are not contagious.
Treating Viral Pink Eye
Viral conjunctivitis usually clears up in a week or two without treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
If it doesnt go away on its own particularly if the infection is caused by herpes or varicella your doctor may recommend an antiviral medication.
Herpes infection that affects the eye also known as herpes zoster ophthalmicus should always been examined in person.
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Treating Allergic Pink Eye
Allergic pink eye usually goes away when the allergen is removed.
For example, if youre allergic to animal dander, leaving the environment with the animal could help.
If the pink eye is the result of another factor, like a pollen allergy, antihistamine medications can help relieve your allergy symptoms.
Your doctor may also recommend redness-relieving eye drops called vasoconstrictors, which are available over the counter, or prescription eye drops to relieve symptoms.
When Should I See The Doctor
Talk to your doctor:
- If your baby has purulent eye discharge and is less than 3 months old.
- If you think your child has pinkeye. It is not easy to know if a bacteria or a virus has caused the infection. Your doctor will know if your child needs an antibiotic or other treatment.
- If your child seems unwell and has a fever, rash or eye pain, or if the pinkeye seems to keep coming back. Some more serious illnesses may look like pink eye at first.
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Prescription Medication For Pink Eye
If an eye doctor recommends treatment for a viral or bacterial pink eye infection, it will almost always require a prescription and pickup from your local pharmacy.
Antibiotic eye drops are the main treatment for bacterial conjunctivitis, but they arent always necessary. Most cases of bacterial pink eye are mild and heal on their own within one to two weeks without any treatment, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
A true bacterial infection, however, typically does not self resolve and will require antibiotics.In addition to others, your eye doctor may prescribe eye drops containing one of the following antibiotics:
Some types of bacterial pink eye may also require oral antibiotics, but this is less common.
Viral conjunctivitis almost always goes away on its own and cant be treated with antibiotics. However, antiviral drugs may be used in more serious, rare cases.
Bacterial and viral pink eye can be very contagious. Even with medication, you can prevent further spread by addressing sneezes, coughs and any physical contact with caution and washing your hands often and thoroughly.
They can also both be treated with topical steroids to boost healing time. This is not very common.
More severe cases of allergic conjunctivitis are generally treated with a steroid eye drop. They may also benefit from stronger prescription antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers, usually in the form of eye drops.
What Is Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, which is the membrane on the outer eyeball and the inner eyelid. Conjunctivitis symptoms include red, itchy eyes with a watery or mucus-like discharge, which can vary in color from yellow to green. Translation: Its uncomfortable and unattractive.
Most pink eye cases 70 percent are caused by a virus. Typical viral conjunctivitis is usually accompanied by a cold. So, its not uncommon for someone with a cold to wake up with crusty eyelids from the discharge.
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How Can I Feel Better
Placing cool or warm packs or washcloths over the infected eye can help. You can also take acetaminophen, if necessary. Clean the infected eye carefully with warm water and fresh, clean gauze or cotton balls.
Keep track of your symptoms, keep your hands clean, visit your doctor as needed, and follow your treatment instructions carefully. Within a week, your eyes should be feeling better.
How Is Conjunctivitis Diagnosed
An eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to diagnose pink eye. They will also ask about your medical history and your current symptoms to help determine what type of conjunctivitis you have. In rare cases, they may take a swab of eye discharge or conjunctival tissue to send for lab testing.
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Is Pink Eye Contagious
Pink eye that happens due to bacteria or viruses is highly contagious . This is because you can spread pink eye before you know you have it. We also all touch our faces and eyes much more than we think.
Pink eye caused by allergies isnt contagious.
How long am I contagious with pink eye?
If you get pink eye from bacteria, youre contagious while you have symptoms or until about 24 to 48 hours after starting antibiotic treatment.
If you get pink eye from a virus, youre contagious for as long as you have symptoms . You can also spread pink eye before you notice any symptoms.