Pink Eye in Babies: Causes, Home Remedy, Infection, Breast Milk, Treatment

Can a baby get pink eye? Get insights on the causes of pink eye in kids, home remedies and how to treat the condition.

What Causes Pink Eye in Babies

Also called conjunctivitis, pink eye is a common condition where your conjunctiva part of the eye is inflamed. The conjunctiva is a transparent membrane that forms a white lining on your eye. When inflamed, you may see some blood vessels which are easily visible on the conjunctiva making your eye to look pinkish or reddish in color.
Inflammation of your conjunctiva can be caused by many issues including infections, allergy, irritation and many more that we will discuss below. Usually, if pink eye is caused by bacterial and viral infection, it is very contagious.

Pink eye in babies’ symptoms

  • When your baby’s one or both of the eye’s white part and the lower rim of both or either of the eyelids are red, there is a high chance that he is suffering from pink eye. Usually, when the baby’s immune system tries to fight the infection, the eyes may be filled with tears or become crusty or goopy.
  • You should visit your doctor as soon as possible if you realize that he is showing some symptoms that may be related to pinkeye. If the germs are left untreated, they are likely to spread to the other eye or other people since the condition is very highly contagious.
  • When your new-born has slight swelling of the eyes and redness on the conjunctiva is normal and may disappear after a short period of time. This usually is a short-lived conjunctivitis that results from reaction to eyedrops that they are given after they are born.

What are the causes of pinkeye in babies?

There are several conditions that cause pink eye in children. It is important for a mother to know the exact condition that has exposed her child to this problem. In that case, if you are not sure, don’t just try some medicines on your baby. You should visit your pediatrician who will carefully examine your baby to make sure treatment prescribed is helpful. The following are some of the reasons why your baby has pink eye:

  1. Viral infection

Pink eye caused by viral infection is the most common type of conjunctivitis that affects toddlers. The condition is caused by a virus referred to as adenovirus, which also affects the respiratory system. Also, the herpes virus can as well result in pink eye in babies. This type of pink eye is very contagious but it usually clear away without treatment after undergoing its course which normally takes around 5-7 days. The said virus is very contagious to the fact that it can spread even by just sneezing or coughing.
This condition in most cases usually affect both of the eyes with symptoms including; swelling and reddening of the eyes, watery, burning and itchy eyes, and sensitiveness to much light.

  1. Bacterial infection

This is a type of pink eye in babies caused by bacterial infection caused by a staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus pneumoniae and haemophilus influenza. The infection may affect both of your child’s eyes causing a discharge of thick eye mucus or pus in severe cases. This type of pink eye can be contagious as well but not as compared to the one caused by viral infection.

  1. Allergic conjunctivitis in babies

This is a form of pink eye condition that results from allergic reaction triggered by animal dander, pollen, dust or mites. Some allergic pink eyes are seasonal while others occur when the allergens are facilitated to cause the condition.
This type of pink eye is not contagious and it may affect both eyes. In most cases it is usually associated with running nose and stuffiness. Other symptoms associated with allergic pink eye include; burning sensation and itchiness, watery eyes, sensitiveness to much light. The condition of your child may improve when the allergen is removed from his presence.

  1. Pink eye from newborn eyedrops

Usually, while a baby is born, there are eyedrops that are put in his eyes to prevent bacterial infection and the eye-drops can sometime cause irritation to the eyes. This type of pink eye is sometime referred to as chemical conjunctivitis. The condition may be seen by your baby’s eyes swelling and the white part of the eye may become slightly red. This should not cause worry as the condition will resolve after some few days.

  1. Blocked tear ducts

Sources have it that at least 20% of babies are both with either one or both of the tear ducts blocked or partially closed every year. This condition makes it hard for the eye to lubricate itself and there by resulting into pink eye in babies. Other conjunctivitis-like symptoms may include a white or yellowish discharge from the affected eye or both if all are affected, and a full brownish eye color. You may visit your doctor to find out what you should do for this case.

  1. Irritation to the eye

Babies are usually very vulnerable and any kind of irritation can result into an issue. For example, if your baby is exposed to a light smoke he may end up developing pink eyes. Therefore you are supposed to make sure that your kid is not exposed to any kind of irritation.

  1. Injury or trauma.

Your child’s eyes are very delicate and any slight pressure applied on them may result in tearing which may be associated with pink eye. Your child may accidentally put a finger in the eye since he is not even aware of what is going own. In that case, make sure your baby’s hands are covered well always to avoid this, and also, try to carefully cut short his nails.

Can a Baby get Pink Eye?

Just as a grown up person, when your baby is exposed to conditions that lead to pink eye, be sure he won’t be exempted from the problem. Usually a baby is placed under keen care and that usually tries to make it hard to be infected.
Usually, pink eye in babies may be itchy, a gooey-like discharge, with eye reddening and also you may notice your child trying to rub eyes due to a burning sensation. Those who have ever had the problem may describe it as a sandy feeling involved with irritation in the eye.
There are no specific tests that are used to determine the presence of pink eye in your child. Your doctor will diagnose will diagnose this condition by examining the symptoms.
Is pink eye common in babies?

  • Sources have it that newborns are more susceptible to pink eye as compared to older kids because, their immune system is usually weak and therefore they cannot protect themselves from any kind of attack of such kind. In some cases, as we said above, a child may be born with blocked tear ducts and this is a direct condition that will expose him to the pink eye.
  • Your child may have as well contacted the pink eye at birth if it happens the mother has sexual disease such as herpes simplex virus. However, you should not be worried if your baby is born with condition as it will clear off after it’s though with its course which may take about a week.

How pink eye in babies may be contracted
This condition is very contagious especially if it is caused by infections such as bacteria or virus. Weave said just by coughing or sneezing, your baby may receive this infection from people around him. If your child spend much of his time in a day care where he may happen to meet another child who has pink eye, there is possibility that he can get it. However do not isolate your kid from others, you can talk to your day care taker so that you people find a way of making your kids comfortable harmoniously.

Breast Milk for Pink Eye

If you usually spend some time with breast feeding mothers, by now you should be aware that breast milk can be used to treat pink eye in babies or even grownups. This is not just a myth but you can go ahead and try it as well.  Sources suggest that the most common medicine for eye infection is breast milk. This is not a new thing since people used breast milk to treat eye infections since in the 18th century.
Some sources describe human breast milk as an emollient and cool when it comes to curing red eye immediately. Some studies reveal that conditions that cause pink eye in babies such as blocked tear ducts and cold usually disappear on their own with no treatments. However, for bacteria pink eye, results show that likelihood of mother’s breast milk treating this is very minimal.
What you should do immediately your child is born with pink eye is to let them be evaluated by your doctor because you may be dealing with a problem that may not be reversed if left unattended to.
What studies have on breast milk for pink eye
Verd in 2007: the writer published that he used to treat issues such as blocked tear ducts in babies with antibiotic eye drops and also with mother’s milk drops. The research suggests using mother’s milk on babies pink eye as a safe way. However, blocked tear ducts usually get well without medical intervention.
British journal ophthalmology:  suggests that effects of fresh breast milk can work against some common ocular pathogens. They found that donated milk has 100 percent samples of bacteria.

How long is Pink Eye contagious for Babies

Pink eye in babies remain to be contagious so long as the baby is undergoing tearing associated b with matted eyes. However, symptoms of this condition will get better after a short period of time around 3 to 7 days. Sources have it that the most contagious type of pink eye is the one that result from viral infection. It is then followed by an infection that results from bacterial infection as we have talked above.
Other issues that may lead to pink eye in babies are not considered to be contagious. When there are no more symptoms being identified, your child may have healed from the condition since it usually doesn’t take long, and it may go away without medical intervention.
However, if the pink eye is caused by bacteria, your doctor may prescribe some antibiotic eye drops or ointments which may help to speed up the healing.

Pink Eye in babies Home Remedies

Not unless your baby is suffering from pink eye caused by bacterial infection, medication is not necessarily important for this case. You may use some home treatment which may relieve your child’s pain and heal the condition as well. Here are some of the home remedies that have proved to be successful for pink eye in babies.

  1. Mother’s breast milk

This is a home remedy that has been used for long time, even since the 18th century to treat pink eye in babies. Several studies have been done for breast milk treatment to pink eye and many have confirmed that this is the way to go at home. The antibody in the breast milk prevents the bacteria from getting attached to the mucosal surface of the eye therefore limiting its growth.

  1. Natural organic honey for pink eye in babies

Honey is another well-known home remedy that performs good work when it comes to treating pink eye. Natural honey contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help to fight bacterial infection and calm down the inflammation brought about by pink eye. You just need to smear some honey on your baby’s eye and wash it off after some time with warm water and a cotton swab.

  1. Colloidal Silver

This is highly effective remedy against highly infectious bacteria that cause infection on eyes of your infant. The remedy can be used both internally and externally and additionally it is suitable for people of all age groups and has no any side effect. It can be used to act as an eye wash for a soothing and calming your eyes for short time as possible.

  1. Chamomile Tea for pink eye in babies

This is very helpful for kids who can drink tea on their own. This herbal tea helps in compressing pain and swelling. The tea is known to contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which are very helpful in soothing irritation, reducing swelling and curing your red eye.

Baby Eye Infection yellow Discharge

Usually a newborn baby may have a condition whereby there is some discharge from the eyes. This condition may be due to infection or not. Often, the discharge may be yellowish and may appear some few days or weeks after birth. In some babies, the yellow discharge may clear and in this case it does not need any medical intervention.
There are some conditions that may call for doctor’s evaluation since infections can be involved as a cause of the discharge. Knowing the reason behind the yellow discharge is usually important while determining the correct treatment for the condition.
Neonatal conjunctivitis
During delivery via vagina, a baby may have exposure to bacteria or viruses that may be present in the birth canal. This may therefore result to eye infection known as neonatal conjunctivitis. The infection may result in a yellow discharge in company of redness and swollen eyelids.
This does not necessarily happen due to a mother having active virus or bacteria in her vagina. If it happens that a mother has a condition such as chlamydia that may cause problem to the baby, the doctor may recommend for a Caesarean section so that a baby’s exposure to the disease is reduced.
As we have shared above, blocked tear ducts can as well lead to discharge of yellowish pus from your baby’s eyes. This is not an infection and the condition usually clears on its own. However you may visit your doctor for more advice.

Pink Eye in Toddlers Treatment

Treatment for pink eye in babies will depend on what is the underlying condition to the problem. In most cases, there are conditions that will not require treatment but you can just find out which medication you can use to speed up the healing process of your child’s conjunctivitis.

  1. Treatment for viral pink eye

In this case, there is no specific treatment recommended here as the condition will resolve after its course which last for about a week. You may gently clean the eye by use of a cotton ball by soaking it in lurk warm water to remove the gooey-like discharge. While cleaning, you should swab in one direction for both eyes and some time the child will feel batter.
Use each eye with its own cotton ball, if possible two to avoid transfer of germs. After cleaning you should dispose the cotton balls very well far from reach of someone else since the condition is contagious.

  1. Treatment for bacterial conjunctivitis

Here your doctor may advise you to use some antibiotic eye drops and some creams to speed up the healing process. Also make sure to clean the eyes very well with clean lurk warm water each time you realize a discharge or pus accumulated around the eyes. Treatment should be done to both eyes even if it is one eye that is affected in this case.

  1. Treatment for allergic conjunctivitis

If your child’s eyes are inflamed due to allergic reaction, your doctor may advise on treatment that is also used in treating conditions such as hay fever, such as antihistamines. However, you need to remove allergens or your baby from thing that cause allergy to his eyes. You may know thing is that caused allergy if you remove your baby from a certain environment. This may result in quick relief after some time.

When to see your doctor

  • If your baby keeps own crying due to severe pain
  • If your child have problems with vision
  • When eye have increased swelling, itchiness, redness and tenderness around the eyes
  • if you have a symptom of fever

More references

  1. Pink eye in babies:
  2. Pink eye in toddlers- the bump:
  3. Conjunctivitis:
  4. Breast milk as a medicine for pinkeye:
  5. How long is pink eye contagious: