Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is an infection of the conjunctiva layer of the eye. It’s often a nuisance because, while it’s not particularly painful and rarely is serious, it means time out of school and is highly contagious and uncomfortable.
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Pink eye can be caused by either bacteria or a virus. Conjunctivitis symptoms include redness, itchiness, a gritty feeling in the eyes, and excessive tearing. In addition, your child may have discharge from the infected eye(s), causing them to wake up with discharge around his or her eye that has dried up and caused the eyelid to stay shut.
If you have more than one child, something that’ll be high on your priority list is preventing pink eye from spreading to your other child(ren)! The first line of defense is to wash hands OFTEN. Both the infected child and others in the household should wash their hands with warm soapy water more often than they usually would. A child with pink eye may rub their eyes often, so be sure to remind them or help them to wash their hands. Don’t allow sharing of pillows, glasses, or any toys placed by the eyes, as the bacteria that cause pink eye can live on surfaces for 2-8 hours or even longer. Clean doorknobs, faucet handles, and other often-touched items with an antimicrobial cleaner.
Conjunctivitis treatment depends on the cause. If it’s bacterial, pink eye can be treated with antibiotic eye drops. However, if it’s viral, antibiotics won’t help. In that case, it can take up to 7-14 days to clear up. Pink eye stops is no longer contagious about 24 hours after the start of antibiotics. A cold compress can help relieve any discomfort your child is feeling.
Pink eye is a common reason we see children at our urgent care. Most schools require your child to be on antibiotics for 24 hours before they’re allowed back in school, making urgent care a timely choice. We take walk-ins, and you can also schedule your visit ahead of time using our convenient online booking system as well to reduce your wait time.