Pink Eye in Children: Symptoms, First Aid, and Prevention

child holding eyes

Seeing children hurt or in pain is a nightmare for parents. As parents, you can try your best to prevent injuries and sickness, but such things are a typical childhood experience. Nevertheless, we should take precautionary steps to help our children avoid it.

What Is Pink Eye, and What Does It Look Like?

Pink Eye or conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the membrane that lines your eyelids and eyes. It occurs when the lining comes into contact with viruses through hand-to-eye touching. The viruses may come from eye discharge, fecal matter, and respiratory discharge.

It is more common for children since they are less cautious of what they touch and hold. Pink Eye is easy to spot as it is characterized by the change in color of the white part of the eye from white to red. It can affect only one or both eyes and can be transmissible depending on the cause.

Aside from red eyes, Pink Eye can also cause eye pain with burning and itchiness. It may cause the eyes to have excessive tearing and produce more watery discharge. Pink Eye can also result in swollen eyes that are more sensitive to light and may cause temporary blurred vision.

What Should I Do When My Child Catches Pink Eye?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, extra caution is needed when your kid displays eye pain, severe eye redness, light sensitivity, or blurry eyesight. If these symptoms are present, it’s time to seek urgent medical care as it can progress to something more dangerous.

Urgent medical care is also required for children with a compromised immune system due and underlying health issues. The same urgency also applies to newborns contracting the disease. Pink Eye, however, can heal in three to five days. It can go for as long as two weeks when left untreated. If your child still has it after this period, it is best to seek professional help to avoid a more serious condition.

How to Prevent the Pink Eye?

Prevention is still better than cure. Although it is easy to acquire Pink Eye, it’s also easy to prevent. Here are some steps to help you improve your kid’s chances.

Determine the allergen.

It always pays to know what you’re fighting against. In Pink Eye, allergens are usually responsible for irritation. Begin by identifying what type of allergens irritate your eyes most. It can be anything from pollen to dust. After determining the allergens, make sure to try removing them from your environment. This way, there may be fewer attacks in the future.

Wash your hands frequently.

Washing your hands is still the best protection against viruses and allergens around you. Teaching your kids how to wash their hands properly isn’t only about personal hygiene, but it can also be a bonding moment that they carry on as they grow older. This can prevent more than just conjunctivitis and is incredibly important for keeping various diseases away. 

Note that the time washing your hands should not be shorter than the song “Happy Birthday” sung twice to ensure all pathogens are removed or eliminated.

Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.

Touching and rubbing our eyes can be a difficult habit to let go of. Children are naturally less cautious and consistently touch or rub their eyes from time to time. However, it pays to remind them. Reminding them will be beneficial for them and the whole family, helping you all avoid the spread of the illness.

Use disinfectants.

Washing your hands may be the best protection from Pink Eye. However, using disinfectants can further prevent the whole family from contracting the illness.

Avoid sharing personal care items.

Personal care items, such as mascara wands and makeup brushes, should not come into contact with other people aside from their owner. Since Pink Eye is a transmissible disease, using someone’s personal items may risk someone who doesn’t have it. Again, prevention is better than cure. If you can purchase your own personal care items, it would be best to have your own instead of risking an infection.


Parents should not be afraid of Pink Eye. It’s totally normal for children to contract it during their childhood. What’s important is for us to stay informed and cautious of what our children do. That way, we protect them from something that may hurt them.

For parents looking for a place to go to after-hours when their children get sick, Your Kids Urgent Care is the place to be. Located in New Providence, NJ, we specialize in providing urgent child care that offers pediatric services with convenience in mind. Explore our website for more information.

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