Pinkeye Advice from Nurse Carol
With the most famous case of pinkeye behind us (see Bob Costas, Winter Olympics), and Spring Pollen looming ahead, Nurse Carol Aman gives a little background/advice on dealing with Conjunctivitis or Pinkeye.
Conjunctivitis is the most common childhood eye infection. You may also know it as “pink eye” because the infection causes the eye to be irritated and bloodshot, thereby giving it a “pink” appearance. I’m Carol Aman, LPN and I’ve been a nurse with ABC Pediatrics for 15 years. I have taken many nurse calls over the years pertaining to conjunctivitis and would like to share with you the advice that I give to parents who call so that you will be better prepared the next time someone in your family develops this infection.
Conjunctivitis means inflammation of the surface of the eye or the underside of the eyelid. It can be the result of allergies, irritants, a foreign body, a virus or bacteria.The patient with conjunctivitis is uncomfortable. The symptoms can range from excess tears to a sandpaper feeling to pus draining from the infected eye and thick, crusty material on the eyelids. If the conjunctivitis is due to a virus or bacteria, it can spread very easily from person to person in a family by direct contact with the eye drainage. If you wipe your child’s eye, forget to wash your hands with soap and water, and then you rub your eye without thinking about it, you can easily be the next one with conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is best treated quickly. It is important to consult with us if pinkeye affects a member of your family. Start by calling our office to speak to me or any one of our nurses. I will ask several questions to best determine how to respond to the problem. If the conjunctivitis appears to be due to an irritant, I will recommend flushing your child’s eye with cold water for 10 – 15 minutes. If it appears to be caused by an allergy, a foreign body, a virus or bacteria, I will arrange for your child to be seen by one of our providers that same day so that we can better determine the cause and then recommend an appropriate course of treatment. In some cases, your child will be given eye drops to soothe the irritation and told to use warm compresses over the eye. In other cases, an antibiotic eye drop or ointment will be prescribed. In more severe cases when there is redness or swelling in the tissues around the eye, antibiotics taken by mouth or given in the vein may be indicated because the infection may no longer be contained to just the surface of the eye.
In all cases of conjunctivitis, GOOD HANDWASHING is of great importance to prevent the spread to other family members.
If your child shows signs of conjunctivitis, please call me at ABC Pediatrics, (910) 892-1333, so that we can discuss your situation and get the proper treatment for your child as soon as possible.
Carol Aman, LPN