There are two common childhood ailments that make even the most experienced parents shudder with disgust: pinkeye and lice. Recently, two of Vickie's young grandchildren contracted pinkeye, and we thought it was a great opportunity to discuss treatment and prevention so that hopefully you don't end up at an important work meeting looking like you haven't slept in three weeks because your kindergartener didn't wash his hands after playing on the monkey bars at school.
Conjunctivitis, aka pinkeye, is a highly contagious condition that causes redness, swelling, and discharge in the eyes. Most cases of pinkeye will go away on their own in a week or two, but you can hopefully speed recovery time and reduce discomfort by using these tips:
Stop wearing contact lenses. Use a new pair when you go back to wearing your contacts. Your old contacts are likely infected and could get you sick again if you wear them again.
Stop wearing eye makeup. Also, throw out your old eye makeup and get new makeup once your eyes are healthy.
Change pillowcases, sheets, and towels every day. Pinkeye bacteria can live on cloth surfaces for up to three days, so make sure you're frequently changing your bedding and towels to prevent reinfection or spread to other family members.
Wash your hands often, especially after touching your eyes. Children are kinesthetic learners, which means they learn by touching... EVERYTHING. Make sure everyone in the house is washing their hands regularly, and wipe down frequently touched surfaces often.
Don't share anything that touches your eyes. This is kind of a no-brainer, but it's a good rule of thumb to always follow... Don't share contact lens cases, makeup, eye drops, or anything else that is used on or around your eyes.
Boost your immune system. Vitamins A, C, and Zinc may help to improve eye health, boost immune system function, and ward off infection. It's a good idea to boost these vitamins for everyone in the house to prevent illness from spreading to healthy family members.
Use a wet washcloth. If your eyelids are sticking together, a warm washcloth can loosen the dried mucus so you can open your eyes, and a cold compress can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Just make sure to put the washcloth in the laundry immediately after use, and use a new cloth for each application!
Try an herbal eyewash. Open a capsule of our Eye See formula into a cup of just-off-the-boil water. Let it steep until the water cools to room temperature, then strain out the solids using a coffee filter or paper towel. Using a clean eye dropper, drop 1-2 drops in each eye 1-2 times per day. Make a new cup of eye wash every day to ensure freshness.
Homeopathic Remedies. Some homeopathic remedies, such as Belladonna, Euphrasia, Argentum nitricum, Sulphur, and Pulsatilla are commonly recommended for treating pinkeye symptoms.
Take care. As with any illness, you body needs adequate rest, fluids, and nutrition to heal. Get lots of sleep and drink plenty of water and herbal teas to help speed your recovery.
Sometimes you need to see a doctor for pink eye. If your pinkeye is severe, producing a lot of pus and mucus, if your eyes become sensitive to light or your vision becomes affected, or if your symptoms persist for more than a week, you should see your ophthalmologist right away.
What other natural pinkeye remedies have you tried?