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What You Should Know About Pink Eye in Children

doctor checkup the boy with pink eye

Story at-a-glance -

  • Approximately 3 million school days are lost annually in the U.S. alone from absences due to pink eye, according to the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC)
  • To help prevent pink eye, it’s important to teach your child the importance of proper hygiene

Pink eye is one of the most common conditions a child may experience. In fact, it’s so common that a total of 3 million school days are lost annually in the U.S. alone due to absences, according to the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC).1

A child may get pink eye from school due to the large number of students bringing in viruses from their own homes. A child may also acquire bacteria from playing outdoors and coming into contact with infected areas.

Symptoms of Pink Eye in Children

The symptoms of pink eye in children are very similar to the symptoms of those in adults. Redness in the affected eye is very much present, which may be accompanied with itching. Below are other symptoms that may develop:2,3

Yellow, sticky discharge in the corner of the eye

Sensitivity to light

Watery, burning eyes

Eye pain

Blurred vision



It’s Possible for Infants to Get Pink Eye Too

When pink eye strikes an infant within the first 30 days of being born, this condition is called neonatal conjunctivitis. There are several factors involved in the formation of this condition.

It’s possible that the mother may have had a chlamydial infection during childbirth, which was then passed onto the baby while exiting the birth canal. In fact, this manner accounts for most of the cases of neonatal conjunctivitis (2 to 40 percent).4 Other factors include poor hygienic conditions during delivery, or the child was exposed to chemical irritants after being born.5

Fortunately, this condition has a good prognosis if the parents detect the optical inflammation right away. If you spot symptoms of pink eye in your child, return to the hospital at once for immediate treatment.6

Helpful Tips for Preventing Your Child From Getting Pink Eye

To help prevent pink eye, it’s important to teach your child the importance of proper hygiene. Not only will it help prevent contracting pink eye, but other contagious diseases as well. Here are some tips that both you and your child can practice:7,8,9

Teach them to wash their hands properly and frequently.

Do not share clothing that touches their eyes, such as towels and tissues.

If they have an active pink eye infection, remind them not to touch or rub their eyes, so the infection will not transfer to their hands.

Remind them to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to prevent droplets from reaching their eyes and to keep the infection from spreading.

Keep your surroundings clean, especially surfaces and items at home that are regularly used by other family members.

Make them wear goggles when swimming to protect their eyes from getting bacteria or viruses that may be present in the pool.

Change your pillowcases and bed sheets frequently.

If allergies cause pink eye, be familiar with the triggers and get help from your doctor on how to avoid them.


Pink Eye: Introduction

What is Pink Eye

Pink Eye in Children

Pink Eye in Adults

Is Pink Eye Contagious?

Pink Eye Duration

Pink Eye Causes

Types of Pink Eye

Pink Eye Symptoms

Pink Eye Treatment

Pink Eye Prevention

Pink Eye Diet

Pink Eye FAQ

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Pink Eye in Adults

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