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Q+A: Can My Kid Go to Daycare if He Has Pinkeye?

That depends. Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or even allergies. If you notice redness, itching, discharge, and crusty eyes in the morning, take him to the doctor. If she thinks it's bacterial (which tends to produce a yellower, stickier discharge), she may prescribe antibiotic drops and your child can return to child care after 24 hours, says Cheryl L. Hausman, M.D., a pediatrician at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. But there's no treatment for the more common viral form. It remains contagious until it's gone, so your child won't be able to go back to his child-care center for at least three days and maybe a week. In the meantime, wipe away discharge with a warm washcloth, use cool compresses during the day to help soothe the eye and don't share towels or pillowcases.

Originally published in the September 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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