September is Children’s Health Month and since school has started there is no better time than now to talk about one of the most common eye problems among children, conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis often called “pink eye” is the inflammation of the conjunctiva (the thin membrane that covers the inside of your eyelids) and the sclera (the white part of your eye). To show how prevalent this problem is, 3 million school days are missed each year in U.S. public schools due to conjunctivitis.
3 Common Causes of Conjunctivitis:
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacterial infections and is highly contagious. The symptoms include red eyes with a lot of pus.
- Viral conjunctivitis is caused by the virus that causes the common cold and is also contagious. A watery mucous is usually present.
- Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious and mainly causes itchy eyes with no discharge. It is caused by your body’s reaction to an allergen or irritant.
How did my child get “pink eye”?
Conjunctivitis is common in children because they are in such close contact with so many others in school and day care centers. Also, they don’t practice good hygiene. Common ways contagious conjunctivitis is contracted:
- Direct hand-to-eye contact with an infected person
- Spreading of the infection from bacteria in the person’s own nose/sinus
- Reusing towels when wiping face/eyes
- Sharing eye cosmetics with other people
- Not cleaning contact lenses properly
How do I help prevent “pink eye”?
Teaching your child good hygiene practices can help prevent the spread of conjunctivitis. If your child is infected, have them do the following to reduce the chance of spreading it:
- Have your child, and anyone in contact with them, wash their hands often.
- Avoid having them touch their eyes.
- Avoid reusing towels, washcloths and tissues to wipe their eyes.
- Change their pillowcases frequently.
If you think your child may have “pink eye” please schedule an appointment with our office at
(248)649-2820 and Dr. Greenberg can determine the appropriate treatment.