Conjunctivitis, commonly called pink eye, causes inflammation and redness of the mucous membrane that covers the eye. The eyes of a child with pink eye may look horrible, but pink eye is an easily treated condition that typically does not have any long term health side effects. If you suspect that your child has pink eye, take the following steps:

Consult a Doctor

Pink eye can be caused by either a bacteria or a virus. It can be difficult to determine which one is causing your child's eye condition, so it is always a good idea to have your child seen by an eye doctor, such as Bethany Vision Clinic, or a pediatrician. A lot of cases of red, swollen eyes in children is due to pink eye, but seeing a medical professional can ensure that it is not a more serious eye problem. If your child has a case of pink eye caused by a bacterial infection, he or she may be prescribed an antibiotic eye ointment or drops to help clear up the infection. If the infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not work to clear it up, but the redness and inflammation should subside on its own within a few days. 

Try to Prevent Eye Rubbing

Pink eye can be uncomfortable, and may make the eyes itchy. Try your best to discourage your child from rubbing his or her eyes; if the conjunctivitis is only in one eye it can be spread to the other eye through touching or rubbing. It is also possible to introduce other irritants or allergens to the eyes if they are touched or rubbed often, which may make the infection worse and result in a longer recovery period.

Alert Your Child's School or Daycare Center

Pink eye is quite contagious and easy to spread, so if your child is diagnosed with pink eye you should contact your child's school or daycare provider. This will allow them to sanitize and clean the classroom, and also let other parents know that their kids have been exposed to pink eye so they can look out for symptoms of pink eye.

Keep Your Child Home

Since pink eye is so easy to spread, and young children are typically in close contact with each other at school or daycare, it is recommended that children stay at home while pink eye is contagious. Pink eye is typically no longer contagious when the eye is no longer crusty and watery, and those symptoms usually subside in 3 to 7 days.