What To Do If Your Child Has Pink Eye

Eyes are extremely sensitive parts of the body, and they can easily become irritated or infected due to allergies, bacteria, and viruses. Some eye infections are not serious, but it is important to address and treat them quickly because they can cause significant distress and discomfort. Pink eye falls into this category.  

What is pink eye?

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a common eye infection that is highly contagious. It affects the white part of the eye and the inner eyelid. It can be caused by allergies, a virus, or by bacteria. Although people of any age can contract pink eye, it is especially common in children, as pink eye can quickly spread in schools. Pink eye can be spread when a child touches an infected child or an object that an infected child has recently touched. It can also be spread among children through sneezing or coughing.

What are the symptoms of pink eye?

The most common symptom of pink eye is red, itchy, irritated eyes. Children often say it feels like they have sand or something else in their eyes, and they may be tempted to rub them frequently. The eyelids can get puffy and swollen, and the eyes can become painful. There is often white or yellow discharge from the infected eyes. The symptoms typically last for 7-10 days.

What should I do if my child has pink eye?

If your child has pink eye in only one eye, ask him or her to not touch that eye and then the other eye, or it will spread. Try to discourage your child from rubbing his or her eyes, though it will likely be difficult for your child to avoid doing so.

To provide your child with some comfort, try a compress. Use a clean, lint-free towel, and soak it in cool water. Direct your child to press it gently to his/her affected eye(s). If this does not help, you can also try a warm compress. If your child only has pink eye in one eye, do not allow the towel to touch the other eye.

Over-the-counter eye drops can also help provide relief. Look for eye drops that are labeled “artificial tears” or “lubricating.” The infection should go away on its own after 7-10 days.

Will my child need to see a doctor?

A visit to Dr. Poonawala will determine if your child has pink eye or some other type of eye infection. Once she has made a diagnosis, Dr. Poonawala can prescribe eye drops that will give your child relief more quickly. Depending on the source of the pinkeye, she can prescribe antibiotic eye drops, antiviral eye drops, and/or steroid eye drops that will reduce the inflammation and cause your child’s eye to feel less itchy and irritated.


If you are concerned about your child’s eyes, call or click our online booking tool to make an appointment with Dr. Poonawala.

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