Four things every parent should know about conjunctivitis
Parents of small children are used to seeing the color pink. From toys and tote bags to those classic over-sized erasers, it’s a color that dominates the preschool landscape. But when it comes to eyes, pink is the last color parents want to see.
Alaina’s bout with the dreaded pinkeye
Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is a highly contagious condition that is caused by a bacterial infection, a virus or an allergic reaction. According to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, 3 million school days are missed as a result of pink eye each year.
If your child exhibits swelling, irritation or itching, increased tearing or redness in the white of the eye, you should see an eye doctor to determine the type of pink eye and the appropriate treatment.
It’s always better to avoid the condition altogether. Here are four tips to keep your child’s eyes healthy:1) Wash Hands Often
No doubt as a parent you probably sound like a broken record when asking your child to wash his or her hands. But trust me, it is one of the most important things to do to protect eye health.
2) Discourage Your Child From Touching His/Her Eyes
In addition to washing hands, you should remind your child to not touch his or her eyes. That’s not always easy for them to remember when they are tired and begin to rub their eyes – which brings us back to making sure those hands are clean.
3) Don’t Recycle
Normally reusing something is a great way to teach children about conservation, but when it comes to towels, washcloths or tissues that come into contact with their face and eyes, it’s best to use only one time.
4) Change Those Pillowcases
Speaking of not reusing, while I don’t recommend washing pillowcases after each night’s sleep, it is important to change them frequently. It’s also a good idea to wash glasses – both prescription and sun protection – at least once a day with an alcohol free cleaner and a soft cloth, and to wash toys after play dates.
Follow these tips and you and your child can help prevent the spread of pink eye. Here’s to your eye health!——————
Dr. Lydia Lane, with Little Rock Eye Clinic
, is board certified in ophthalmology by the American Academy of Ophthalmology
. She enjoys spending time with her twin sons, Caleb and Taylor, as well as boating, hiking, and making candles in her spare time.