Caring for Conjuctivitis
This week whilst the whole world is gearing up for school to finish and holiday season, we have heard of a few clients with conjuctivitis. This extremely common eye condition of early childhoold can be highly infectious and with school holidays and play dates on the horizon this week's blog is dedicated to spotting, managing and understanding conjuctivitis.
WHAT IS CONJUCTIVITIS ? : Conjuctivitis is the inflammation of the conjuctiva which is the membrane that covers the front of the eye. This inflammation can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection or by an allergic reaction.
HOW DOES SOMEONE GET CONJUCTIVITIS? : Allergic conjuctivitis is caused by coming into contact with an allergen - the symptoms can mimic hayfever. Both viral and bacterial conjuctivitis are highly infectious and are generally caught from other people. Conjuctivitis can be carried in water eg: swimming pools or can be caught by direct contact with someone who has it. It is the discharge from the eye which is contagious so any object that has been in contact with it needs to be washed thoroughly. Similarly, anyone who touches the discharge including adults through administering eyedrops need to wash hands afterwards before touching anything or anyone. The incubation period for conjuctivitis is usually 24 - 72 hours after contact. Conjuctivitis is most common in under 5 year olds but can affect children of all ages and adults as well.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CONJUCTIVITIS? The 3 types of conjuctivitis can have slightly different symptoms but the main ones are: Redness of the eye; swelling or puffiness of eyelids; excessive tears (allergic or viral); itchiness of the eyes; photophobia ( dislike of lights) - light causes pain to the eyes and a pus like discharge which crusts over after sleep bacterial conjuctivitis). Viral and allergic conjuctivitis can affect one or both eyes but bacterial conjuctitvitis generally affects both eyes and even if not, both eyes require treatment.
HOW DO I TREAT IT? Allergic conjuctivitis can be treated with anti histamines tablets or eyedrops. Viral conjuctivitis has no specific treatment but the recommendation is to rinse the eye/s regularly with warm water and clean them out. Baterial conjuctivitis requires treatment with antibiotic ointment or drops which need to be prescribed by a dr. Sunglasses can also help if there is a sensitivity to light.
HOW LONG WILL THE INFECTION LAST: Conjuctivitis can last anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks and remains infectious for as long as there is discharge coming from the eye/s. It is necessary to keep your child at home and away from school/ holiday programmes for the duration of the infection.
Hoping this doesn't affect anyone during the upcoming holiday and wishing our affected clients a very speedy recovery!!