Are there home remedies for pink eye in toddlers? What can you do to treat pink eye in babies? Pink eye is a common eye problem in kids that can be easily treated and avoided using home remedies. While anyone can get a pink eye, it is more common in preschool and school going children. Below are natural ways to treat a pink eye at home in infants. Also, find out what over the counter medication and antibiotics you can use to cure pink eye in babies.
What is pink eye? According to mayo clinic, pink eye also known as conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the eyelid and the white surface of the eye. When the infection sets in, it causes irritation and small blood vessels in the conjunctiva get inflamed. This is what causes the eye to appear red, pinkish or swollen.
Causes of Pink Eye in Babies
Common causes of pink eye in babies are viruses, bacteria and allergies which makes the broad classification below.
Viral Conjunctivitis in Toddlers
Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type- it is caused by adenovirus, a common respiratory virus. It can also be caused by the herpes virus. This type of pink eye is very contagious but will usually clear up on its own after running its course in 5-7 days even without treatment. It is highly contagious and spread through sneezing and coughing. It can affect one or both eyes. Symptoms include,
- Redness and swelling,
- Watery, burning and itchy eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light.
Bacterial Pink Eye in Toddlers
Caused by bacteria. This type can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated. Common bacteria involved are staphylococcus aureus, haemophilus influenza and streptococcus pneumoniae. Can affects both eyes- symptoms include thick eye discharge or pus.
Allergic Conjunctivitis in Toddlers
It caused by allergens such as pollen, animal dander, mites and dust. Allergic pink eye is seasonal. It is not contagious, affects both eyes and is often accompanied by running nose and stuffiness. Symptoms increased sensitivity to light, burning watery and itchy eyes. Usually improves once the allergy is removed.
Other causes of pink eye in infants are dry eyes, open tear ducts, chemical fumes or smoke. Since its highly contagious early diagnosis, treatment and prevention are usually recommended.
Home Pink Eye Treatment for Toddlers
Unless your baby has bacterial conjunctivitis, medication is not usually required. Homemade treatment can be used to relieve pain and ease discomfort as the infection runs its course normally 5-7 days. Here is more on home pink eye treatment for toddlers
Breast Milk for Pink Eye in Infants
Does breast milk cure conjunctivitis? Breast milk is a common natural treatment for pink eye in newborns that any nursing mom can swear by. It can cure all types of conjunctivitis. There are several studies that show how effective colostrum is in treatment of eye infections and blocked tear ducts in newborn. While there may be little scientific evidence that this really works in older children, anectodal evidence is overwhelming as this remedy has been used for many years that even some doctors are now recommending it.
According to pregnancy-info.net, the Antibody IgA prevents the bacteria from attaching to the mucosal surface of eye limiting its growth. This is what helps to end the eye infection.
- Open your baby’s eyelid and express a little breast milk directly to the surface of both eyes
- Do this at least three times a day for 2-3 days or at least until the infection has cleared up
- Alternatively, you can express milk into a cup and apply to your baby’s eyes with a clean eye dropper
Applying the milk to both eyes even when only one is affected ensures that the infection does not move from one eye to the other eye. According to thehealthyeconomist.com. If there is no breastmilk, you can use raw cow’s, goat’s milk or whey in the same way.
Honey for Pink Eye in Babies
Honey is one of the popular old folk home remedies for pink eye in toddlers. It has potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It cures inflammatory and bacterial eye infections in kids. Manuka honey has been found to be more effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria than other types of honey. You can also use raw locally available honey in the same way.
How To Do You Fix Pink Eye With Honey?
- Make honey water for pink eye by adding 3 tablespoons of honey in 2 cups of boiling water
- Stir to dissolve and allow to cool.
- Use this solution to wash your baby’s eye several times a day until the symptoms disappear
- Alternatively, you can mix honey with milk and use it in the same way
This home remedy can be used in form of drops, eyewash or eye compress.
Colloidal Silver for Pink Eye
Colloidal silver is highly effective against highly infectious and bacterial eye infections in infants. It can be used both internally and externally and is suitable for all age groups without any side effects.
- Wash your hands with soap and water
- Open the eyelid with one hand and put two to three drops using a clean eye dropper
- Do this for both eyes to prevent re-infection
- Repeat this remedy up to 4 times in a day
This remedy can also be used as an eye wash for a soothing and calming relief within a few hours. You must however continue to use it for several days to make sure that the infection is completely gone. It can also be used to treat other eye infections like sty in children.
If taken orally, children should take a relatively small dosage per day to prevent silver toxicity called Argyria, kidney damage and neurological problems. One recommended quality silver preparation is sovereign silver.
Chamomile Tea for Pink Eye in Babies
What do you do for your 2 year old when he wakes up with a teary red eye? Herbal tea compresses relieve pain and swelling. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help soothe irritation, reduce swelling and cure red eye. You can also use calendula, marigold and plantain and eyebright flowers as explained below
- Steep a teaspoon of calendula flowers, chamomile or eyebright flowers in boiling water for a few minutes
- Allow to cool then dampened gauze pad or gauze in it
- Gently place the cloth on the affected eye for 5-10 minutes
Make sure that the herbal tea is completely cool before using it on your baby. Get the baby to lie down on the sofa- if the child tolerates it well, you can place the teabag or cloth on the affected eye for as long as possible. This remedy may not be the best for children who are 1 year old and below.
How to Cure Pink Eye with Salt Water Solution
Mild salt water solution one of the cheapest and easy to do home remedies for pink eye in toddlers. Natural sea salt is best for this natural treatment. It soothes the eye, draws out impurities and reduces swelling. It also helps to soften the crusted eye discharge and remove pus from the eyes.
- Add a teaspoon of salt in a cup of boiling water
- Allow it to cool
- Dampen a cloth in it and use it to wipe the affected area
- You can also use a dropper to rinse the eyes with this solution
- Dry the eyes with disposable tissues and dispose them properly
For older children, irrigating the eyes with mild saline solution will help to reduce the symptoms. Note that making a concentrated solution will irritate the child’s eye. Use distilled water as tap water may contain impurities that can worsen the infection.
Raw Potatoes Poultice for Pink Eye in Babies
Raw potatoes provide a cooling and soothing home remedy for pink eyes. Potatoes are a natural astringent that will help to clear the eyes off the infection.
- Place a handful of raw grated potato over your child’s eyes while they are closed
- Leave it there for 5-10 minutes
- Repeat this several times as required for at least 3 days or until the symptoms disappear
- Alternatively, place a slice of raw potato on the affected eye to reduce swelling and inflammation
Natural Remedies for Pink Eye in Babies
Warm or cold compresses can be used differently to relieve pain and reduce swelling caused by pink eye. Warm compresses sooth the eyes, remove the sticky discharge and flush out infection while cold compresses reduce the swelling and inflammation.
Health advice: When wiping the eye, you should do it from the inside to the outside of the eye. Be sure to use clean washcloths every time you clean the eyes. To prevent spread of infection from one eye to another.
In rare cases vitamin A deficiency can cause pink eye. Vitamin A can help combat any eye disorder. Other than that it will boost your child’s eye sight and combat any eye infection. Give your child foods rich in vitamin A such as carrots, spinach, kale, cheese and Liver.
Zinc and vitamin C
Zinc and vitamin C will also help to support and boost your child’s immune system. Give your child foods such as legumes, fish and egg yolks to boost this important elements in the body. Recurring pink eye infections can be associated with A, B, C and D deficiencies. Talk to the pediatrician whether your child may require vitamins to cure pink eye.
OTC Medication for Pink Eye in Infants
Over the counter medication for pink eye in infants should not be used to heal viral and bacterial conjunctivitis but to relieve the symptoms or allergic or irritant pink conjunctivitis. Pink eye over the counter meds should only be used in older children to reduce irritation and redness. Use antihistamine eye drops for allergic pink eye. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used to relieve pain and irritation. Note that, you should always ask the doctor before using any OTC medication for pink eye in infants.
Antibiotics to Cure Pink Eye
Antibiotics for pink eye are best prescribed by a doctor. If you baby has thick yellow or greenish discharge with a lot of crust that causes the eye to shut, talk to your pediatrician for proper diagnosis and treatment. Usually, since viral pink eye resolves on its own, the doctor gives antibiotics whether it is viral or bacterial just to be sure.
When to See the Doctor
- Blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light
- If the symptoms do not improve or get worse even with treatment
- Pre-existing eye conditions or with one eye vision
- Moderate to severe pain in your child’s eye
- If your baby is developing a fever
The Center for Disease Control recommends that all cases of pink eye should be checked by a doctor.
How to prevent the infection from spreading from your child to other children or the rest of the family
- Teach your child to wash hands with soap and water for at least a minute when necessary
- Make sure that the rest of the family wash their hands frequently
- Discourage sharing of towels, washcloths and bedding
- Change your baby’s bedding and towels frequently and wash them separately in hot water and detergent
- Discourage the baby from rubbing and touching the eyes
- Remove any discharge from the eyes with a clean wash cloth every time several times a day
- Use different eye droppers for infected and non-infected eyes
- Wash your hands before and after cleaning your baby’s eyes
Note that home remedies for pink eye in toddlers may not always work as pink eye may be a symptom of other eye problems. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the type of pink eye that is affecting your baby. It is always best to consult the pediatrician for diagnosis and proper treatment especially if your child has an impaired immune system and vision in only one eye.
WebMd.com: Eye Health Center
Allaboutvision.com: Conjunctivitis: Bacterial, Viral and Other Types
Pediatrics.about.com: Pink Eye and Your Child
Whattoexpect.com: Pink Eye in Toddlers