Conjunctivitis in Babies: How to Treat It
Conjunctivitis is a fairly common condition among small children, which needs to be treated as soon as the first symptoms appear. Normally, it's caused by infections, allergens, or other environmental factors. Read this article to learn how to prevent and treat this condition.
Conjunctivitis is a relatively common infection, which can often afflict babies and children. For this reason it’s very important to know the symptoms, causes and treatments of conjunctivitis.
What is conjunctivitis?
In medical terms, conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a membrane that covers the eyes and eyelids. When it becomes inflamed, the blood vessels are much more visible and the eye looks redder. In addition, conjunctivitis in babies causes tearing and secretions.
This type of inflammation can be caused by different kinds of infections, allergens, or some other irritating agent in the environment. Conjunctivitis can be viral or bacterial, and either form is highly contagious. Therefore, certain precautions must be taken to avoid catching it.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis in babies
It’s essential to treat conjunctivitis in babies as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. These symptoms are usually varied and depend on the cause. However, there are some visible reactions that are general to any type of conjunctivitis, which include:
- Inflammation and redness: this is one of the main symptoms of conjunctivitis. It’s a visible sign that allows one to recognize the condition. The inflammation and redness are observable in the white part of the eye, and also the inside of the eyelid.
- More tearing than usual and secretions: when babies have conjunctivitis, they’ll produce more tears. Another typical symptom is the secretion of a kind of mucous. The secretion is usually white, yellowish, or greenish.
- Itching, burning and increased sensitivity: it’s common for babies with this condition to feel bad and exhibit restlessness, as it causes itching and burning in the eyes. In addition, it produces a greater sensitivity to light.
Causes of the infection
There are three main causes of this condition in babies: viruses, bacteria, and allergens. When the infection is viral, the baby may also show the typical symptoms of a cold.
If the infection is bacterial, the discharge will be thick and yellow. This is one of the most common causes. In most cases, it only affects one eye at first, but it can easily spread to the other.
Finally, conjunctivitis can be due to allergens. Although allergic reactions are rare in babies, they can be caused by external agents such as pollen, dust, or animals.
“Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a membrane that covers the eyes and the eyelids. When it becomes inflamed, the blood vessels are much more visible and the eye looks redder.”
How to treat conjunctivitis in babies
The treatment of conjunctivitis in babies depends on the type of infection that causes it. In general, once treatment has begun, improvements can be seen and felt between 24 and 48 hours. All treatments must be applied for five to seven days in order to be effective.
When the infection is bacterial in nature, doctors usually prescribe antibiotic ointments or drops. It’s also a good idea to stick with the treatment for as many days as the doctor recommends.
Viral conjunctivitis is one of the most common forms of this condition. It usually disappears on its own over the course of one to two weeks. In this type of infection, it’s always a good idea to keep the baby’s eyes clean, washing them with warm water and removing the dry secretion that remains.
Finally, if the infection is due to bacteria or an external agent, it’s important to identify it and keep it away from the baby. Both allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis are highly contagious infections. Therefore, it’s essential to wash your hands thoroughly before and after treating the baby’s eyes.
In conclusion, conjunctivitis is a fairly common infection among babies, and will generally disappear within a few days. Of course, it’s always advisable to consult with a doctor, especially regarding the appropriate treatment based on the condition’s cause.
Following the doctor’s instructions and maintaining good hygiene are the keys to preventing and curing this condition in babies.