Four Things You Should Know About Pink Eye
We want our kids to share. We proclaim the importance of it. But when it comes to sharing, there are a few exceptions. This includes conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.
Viral and Bacterial Conjunctivitis Explained
There are several types of pink eye, but the one that can wreak havoc in schools are viral and bacterial. The name pink eye comes from the red hue the eyes take on due to irritation and inflammation of the blood vessels in the eye. Often, kids will wake up with a crusty eye or eyes, but other symptoms include redness in the eyes, a foreign body (grit) sensation, yellowish eye discharge, and itchiness.
Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are spread easily by sharing items such as pencils, crayons, and hand towels. It can also be spread by coughing and sneezing or touching something that was contacted by someone with the infection. Good hygiene is critical in keeping your kids from sharing this unfortunate infection. Disinfectant sprays are effective at killing the germs that cause pink eye.
What’s the Difference Between Viral and Bacterial?
It can be difficult to tell the difference between viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, so it is best to have your child seen by their pediatrician if you suspect either. Most school-age cases are viral and resolve on their own in about a week. Bacterial, however, often requires antibiotic eye drops. Your child’s pediatric provider will prescribe the drops if they are needed for treatment.
Can My Child Go to School with Pink Eye?
Depending on the type of conjunctivitis they have, they may be able to attend school. What are their symptoms? Do they have a fever? If they do, it is best to keep them home. It is also important to consider your child’s school policy regarding pink eye. Most schools have policies where kids can return 24 hours after they begin antibiotic drops.
Other Types of Conjunctivitis
The non-contagious forms of pink-eye are often caused by allergens (dust, animal dander, and pollen) and chemicals (smoke, household cleaners, chlorine) and resolve in a couple of days.
Pink eye is highly prevalent and will happen to most people at some point in their life. When it happens in your home, take quick steps to minimize the spread and reduce the risk of exposure.
Suspect pink eye? Schedule an appointment with one of our expert pediatric providers today.