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When to Worry: Pinkeye

Could your infant's swollen eye be pinkeye? Find out if your baby has the symptoms of this infection and how to treat it.

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-Pink eye or conjunctivitis is hard to miss. If your baby wakes up with crusty eyelids stuck together or if her eyes are red, itchy, and goopy, she probably has pink eye. Pink eye is an infection that can be caused by a virus or a bacteria. It's not a serious condition, but it's highly contagious and can be uncomfortable for your child. Here is what you should do. See a doctor. If your pediatrician believes her pink eye is caused by bacteria, he'll probably prescribe antibiotic drops. Your baby can usually return to childcare after 24 hours. If it's viral, she may have to wait a little longer before spending time with other children. Wipe away the discharge. Use a clean, warm washcloth to get rid of the crusty film she wakes up with. You can also ease irritation by using cool compresses. Make sure your child doesn't share towels or washcloths with other family members. Hand washing is the most important preventative measure, so wash up frequently especially after touching the infected eye. If your doctor prescribes eye drops, you may need another adult to help administer them. One of you can hold your baby's eyes open and comfort her while the other actually puts the drops in the eye. The infection should start to improve within 24 hours and it should be totally gone within a week. Be sure to finish the entire course of the drops. Sometimes allergies can cause symptoms that mimic pink eye. Your pediatrician can help determine if it's allergies or infection.