Childhood infections are all part of growing up. From chickenpox and earache to sore throats and the common cold – bacteria and little ones seem to go hand in hand. Of course, these childhood bugs and illnesses often clear up very quickly, but one of the more persistent infections that plague childhood is pink eye. You can find out how to treat pink eye here, just click the link for the latest advice.
What causes it?
Pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, caused by a bacterial infection, which can spread to both eyes depending on the type of pink eye/conjunctivitis your child has contracted.
It’s worth mentioning that people of all ages can catch pink eye, but young children are more likely to contract this infection, because they’re less likely to wash their hands thoroughly and because they play in close proximity with others. As a parent, watching your child struggle with the symptoms of pink eye which include sore, watery eyes, a gritty feeling, swollen eyelids and white or yellow discharge from their eyes is difficult. There are also different types of pink eye:
- Bacterial: Caused by touching contaminated objects and then rubbing the eyes. Highly contagious
- Viral: Spread like the common cold (coughs and sneezes). Highly contagious
- Allergy-related: Seasonal and related to hay fever/allergens. Not contagious
Why is my child more likely to catch Pink Eye?
Although pink eye is a temporary condition, it’s irritating and unsightly and no parent wants to see their child in discomfort. Although this infection will clear up within a couple of weeks, it’s important to know why your child is more likely to catch pink eye, to then take the necessary steps to prevent them from contracting it again! Here are some of the reasons your child is likely to catch pink eye.
They touch their face more often
Did you know that we touch our faces between 2,000 – 3,000 times a day? We do it without even noticing! And, not surprisingly, younger children touch their faces and their eyes even more than the average adult. This reflex-like habit means that contracting bacterial pink eye is much more likely. For example, your child could pick up a toy that has bacteria on it, then touch their face or rub their eyes afterward. Encourage your child not to touch their face!
They don’t wash their hands thoroughly
Getting our little ones to wash their hands is a challenge in itself! They might be well-practiced in washing their hands before dinner or after the bathroom, but to prevent the spread of pink eye they should be washing their hands regularly in their school/kindergarten setting, and again when they return home. Practice good handwashing together, so they know the right technique!
And finally, they’re sharing towels/washcloths
If someone at home or school has pink eye, and your child shares a towel, a tissue, or even a washcloth with them then they’re at risk of contracting pink eye. Make sure siblings aren’t sharing towels and washcloths and they know not to share tissues!