November 25, 2006

Childhood illness - Conjunctivitis


Conjunctivitis, also referred to as "pinkeye" is an infection of the eye, usually brought on after a head
cold or sinus infection. It is usually caused by bacteria that have escaped to the tear ducts from the nasal cavity, although allergies and viral infections can be a conduit as well. As a result, the eye gets irritated and an eye infection begins. It is characterized by a bright pink color that covers the white part of the eye.

Redness and itching of the eyes are usually the main symptoms although
cold symptoms usually are evident due to conjunctivitis commonly being a secondary infection of a cold or sinus infection. Aversion to bright lights, swelling, and a discharge from the eye may be present as well.

Diagnosis and Treatment
A diagnose of conjunctivitis is relatively self-explanatory. Your child's doctor will examine the infected eye and check for alternative problems, and if it is conjunctivitis, treatment will probably involve medicated eye drops to bathe the eye and kill the infection. Occasionally the physician may take a sample of the discharge coming from the eye, if one is present, to test for bacteria.

Is Conjunctivitis Contagious?
The infection is highly contagious, easily spread by contact with contaminated liquid from the eye. The patient should be kept away from all other children and other
family members until 2 days after medication is started

Adapted from SureBaby