What is conjunctivitis in children?
Conjunctivitis in children is inflammation of the lining of the eye over the eyeball and inside the eyelids. Infection with bacteria or viruses can cause conjunctivitis. Infection occurs easily, especially if the eye is already irritated. Sometimes children can develop conjunctivitis as part of a cold.
Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious, but bacterial conjunctivitis is not. conjunctivitis in children’s condition is often classified as neonatal conjunctivitis or infantile conjunctivitis. Each group has different causes and treatments.
Types of conjunctivitis in children
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis: Bacterial conjunctivitis is another common type of pink eye in which viruses are spread through the air by sneezing and coughing. Bacterial conjunctivitis is a common viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, such as measles, the flu, or the common cold.
- Viral Conjunctivitis: Viral conjunctivitis is a common infection in the Western population and is often associated with other infections throughout the body. Due to their correlation with respiratory anatomy, viral upper respiratory infections are a common cause of secondary viral conjunctivitis.
- Gonococcal and chlamydial conjunctivitis: It is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhea. The newborn passes this type of conjunctivitis through the birth canal of the infected mother. This type of conjunctivitis can be prevented with the use of eye drops at birth in newborns. Newborn eyes are often very red, with thick discharge and swelling of the eyelids. This type usually begins 2 to 4 days after birth. Treatment of gonococcal conjunctivitis usually involves antibiotics through an intravenous (IV) catheter.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis: Caused by an allergy, not an infection, not an infection. Antibiotic eye drops may not help, but allergy eye drops can. It usually affects both eyes and the main symptoms in children are watery eyes and itching.
- Non-infectious conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis, which is caused by irritation of the eyes, causes symptoms of conjunctivitis that can occur from a variety of sources, including smoke, diesel exhaust, perfumes, and certain chemicals. Some types of conjunctivitis stem from sensitivity to certain substances ingested, including herbs such as conjunctiva and turmeric.
Causes of conjunctivitis in children
Conjunctivitis in children may be caused by:
- Bacteria (several different varieties may cause conjunctivitis)
- Viruses (such as adenovirus or herpes virus)
- Exposure to chemicals (rarely, the drops given to newborns for preventing conjunctivitis may have the reverse effect and may irritate the eye)
The causes and treatments of conjunctivitis in children among newborns may differ.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis in children
The following are common symptoms of the condition. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. There may be symptoms:
- Gritty feeling in one or both eyes
- Itchy, irritated eyes
- Clear, thin drainage and increased tearing
- Sneezing and runny nose
- Stringy discharge from the eyes
- Thick, green drainage from the eyes
- Ear infection
- A lesion with a crusty appearance
- Eyes that are matted together in the morning
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Pink or red discolouration of the whites of one or both eyes
- Discomfort when the child looks at a light
- Burning in the eyes
The symptoms of conjunctivitis in children sometimes resemble other medical problems. Always see your child’s healthcare provider for an examination.
Diagnosis of conjunctivitis in children
Conjunctivitis in children can be diagnosed by its symptoms, and the exact cause can be determined by the paediatrician. Since there are other conditions, such as hay fever, that have similar symptoms, it is important to see a paediatrician as soon as possible.
Common symptoms of infectious conjunctivitis are red, watery, and sticky eyes. However, infectious conjunctivitis is sometimes confused with other types of conjunctivitis, which are treated differently.
Conjunctivitis in children treatment
Treatment depends on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It also depends on the cause of the situation, for example:
- Bacterial infections: It is administered with antibiotic eye drops.
- Viral infection: Viral conjunctivitis generally does not require treatment. In some cases, antibiotic eye drops can be used to prevent secondary infection.
- Allergic reaction: Treatment of conjunctivitis caused by allergies generally involves treating the allergies. Your child’s primary care provider may prescribe oral medications or eye drops to help with allergies.
- Herpes infection: If your child has an eye infection caused by a herpes infection, her paediatrician may refer her to an eye care specialist. You can give your child both oral medications and eye drops.
If the disease is affected by an infection, it is important to know that the disease can spread from one eye to another by touching the affected eye or the fluid that comes out of the eye. The infection can also spread to other people. Fluid from the eye comes out 24 to 48 hours after starting treatment.
To help prevent the spread of infection, you should wash your hands frequently while caring for your baby. Make sure your child does not touch her eyes. Your child should wash her hands often.
Prevention of conjunctivitis in children
Conjunctivitis spreads throughout the nursery or preschool. In some cases, the infection is passed on to the friends of young children, who pass it on to the child.
Common prevention strategies reduce the spread of infections and reduce the risk of recurrent conjunctivitis:
- Encourage young children to avoid touching or rubbing their eyes.
- Keep school children away from school with a fever or thick eye discharge.
- Don’t share eye care products like contact lenses, glasses, or eye makeup. Encourage children not to share these products.
- Practice washing your hands frequently.
- Encourage children not to touch their friends’ faces.
Complications of conjunctivitis in children
Pink eye is a depressing condition, especially allergic conjunctivitis, but in most cases, it does not pose a serious health threat.
Complications of conjunctivitis are very rare, but when they do occur they are serious and include:
- A severe case of allergic conjunctivitis can lead to scarring of the eye
- In cases of infectious conjunctivitis, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and trigger more serious secondary infections, such as meningitis.
When to contact the doctor
- Worsening drainage or discharge from the eye
- Fever in addition to pink eye
- Blistering or rash on the eyelids
- Severe light sensation or pain
- Vision problems
- Any injury to the eye
- Symptoms that do not change within a week.