HEALTH NOTE­BOOK

With a lit­tle knowl­edge, you’ll be equipped to recog­nise the symp­toms and know how to make it all bet­ter

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Contents -

How to spot con­junc­tiv­i­tus

What is it?

Con­junc­tivi­tis is a com­mon eye in­fec­tion typ­i­cal in chil­dren un­der five years old. It oc­curs when the con­junc­tiva, which is an in­vis­i­ble pro­tec­tive sheet over the front of the eye and in­ner eye­lids, be­comes swollen.

What are the symp­toms?

The signs of con­junc­tivi­tis can be quite var­ied de­pend­ing on the ini­tial cause; how­ever Pae­di­a­tri­cian Dr Scott Dun­lop says that both eyes are of­ten af­fected. “Gen­er­ally, the eyes and in­ner eye­lids be­come red and in­flamed. There can be a pus-like dis­charge caus­ing crust­ing and stick­i­ness of the eyes, or no dis­charge at all,” he says. “The eyes can be painful or itchy, es­pe­cially if there is an al­ler­gic com­po­nent to the in­flam­ma­tion.”

How do you get it?

You can con­tract con­junc­tivi­tis a num­ber of ways. It can be trans­mit­ted bac­te­ri­ally, through a virus or be a re­sult of an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to some­thing your child en­coun­ters. A virus is the most com­mon cause of con­junc­tivi­tis in young chil­dren.

What can you do?

In most cases, vi­ral con­junc­tivi­tis will sim­ply heal it­self af­ter you cleanse the out­side of the eye with warm wa­ter or a wipe. How­ever, there are some treat­ment op­tions for those who have con­tracted con­junc­tivi­tis through a bac­te­rial in­fec­tion or through an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion. “Bac­te­rial in­fec­tions may re­quire an­tibi­otic drops, whilst al­ler­gic ir­ri­ta­tion of­ten re­sponds to an­ti­his­tamines,” says Scott.

When to see your GP?

If you no­tice any blur­ring of vi­sion or se­vere eye pain, con­sult your GP as soon as pos­si­ble. “As with any ill­ness, if there are con­cerns re­gard­ing the over­all ap­pear­ance of your child, then seek GP re­view,” says Scott. If your child is suf­fer­ing from vi­ral con­junc­tivi­tis and you haven’t seen an im­prove­ment af­ter a few days of treat­ment, don’t hes­i­tate to take your lit­tle one back to the doc­tor for a check-up.

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