What is it?

    Pinkeye is an infection of the eyes. It is most often caused by a virus but can also be caused by bacteria. The white parts of the eyes become pink or red, the eyes may hurt or feel itchy or scratchy and the eyes may produce lots of tears and discharge. In the morning, the discharge (pus) may make the eyelids stick together. (Some children and adults have allergies that can cause everything listed here except pus). Conjunctivitis is a mild illness and is not dangerous. Doctors usually prescribe an antibiotic eye medication just in case it is due to bacteria.

    How do you catch conjunctivitis?

    The discharge is infectious. If children rub their eyes, they get it on their hands. They can then touch someone else's eyes or hands or touch an object. If other children get discharge on their hands and then touch their own eyes, they can catch it. It can spread easily among young children, who touch their eyes and everything else and who do not know how (or forget) to wash their hands.

    What should you do if your child has conjunctivitis?

    • Keep your child's eyes wiped free of discharge. Use paper tissues, and throw them away promptly.
    • Always thoroughly wash your hands after wiping your child's eyes.
    • Teach your children to wash their hands after wiping their eyes.
    • Ask your healthcare provider if your child needs to receive eye medication.
    • Be sure to wash anything that touches your child’s eyes (such as washcloths, towels, binoculars, toys and cameras.)

    See your healthcare provider if your child develops pinkeye. Your child may need to be given an eye medication.

    Do not send your child to school until the day after you start giving the medicine. If your healthcare provider decides not to prescribe an eye medicine, ask for a note to ensure your child's attendance.

    Tell us if your child is being treated for pinkeye.

Last Modified on January 21, 2022