3 Year Old Cold and Swollen Eye?

Updated on December 24, 2011
S.L. asks from Pasadena, CA
13 answers

My 3 year old daughter came down with a fever of 101 over night. She has runny nose and eyes. The right eye is slightly swollen and red. It's tender to the touch. My Dr. is out till after the holiday if it sound alarming to anyone I will take her to the ER.
Any similar experiences?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the responses! I did the Johnson and Johnson treatment, as well as the Chamomile tea compress. I also got Homeopathic eye drops for Pink Eye.
We pumped her with fluids (Organic apple juice mixed with water) and put her to bed. Tylenol for the fever.
Wow. This morning she is a new girl! All symptoms are gone, just a slight runny nose.
Thanks again!

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

The way to use baby shampoo that S.H. suggested is to take a drop of the no tears shampoo and mix it with a bit of warm water and stir. Then dip in a cotton ball (one per eye, do not use same one on each eye since if she does have a true infection in 1 eye you would spread it to both), and wipe from center to outside of the closed eye along her lash line and discard the cotton ball. You can do this as often as it feels good. I use it because my eyes get itchy from allergies and this seems to help.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Pittsburgh on

No experience with this personally, but if my kid's eye was swollen, red and tender to the touch--I'd be in the ER in about 15 minutes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

a warm compress of cammomile tea helps draw the infection out. i definitely would not make a huge deal out of this and take her to the ER- unless her symptoms get worse. not the stress you need this holiday weekend! hope she feels better soon, have a merry christmas!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

In my experience when a child has a cold they have goo stuck up their nose. It has to escape somehow. Either by way of the nose on the face, through the ears (Ear infection), or by the eyes (gooey red eyes). It has to be released somehow. I would say use some little noses spray and some other kinds of decongestant, I use only Children's liquid Sudafed, and the goo should get runny and go on down the throat and the eye should clear up.

If the eyeball itself is swollen then that baby needs to be in the ER now. If it's just irritated looking and maybe even puss filled it is something the decongestant can take care of.

If there is any fever don't expose anyone else to what she has, she must be fever free, without Tylenol to keep it down, fever free without meds, for at least 24 hours before going to others homes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

There is probably no reason to head to the ER! As Marda said, put a warm cloth on the eye. You'll sometimes refer to people saying, "a cold in the eye." Well, sometimes it's actually pink eye (and that merits antibiotics), but often it is part of the effects of the cold. I wouldn't venture to the ER (especially on a holiday weekend) unless a 103 + fever would not go down, symptoms of meningitis like stiff neck, total lethargy, etc. were present or some other extremely alarming situation arose. If her eye gets worse or starts oozing nasty, puss-looking stuff, you may want to take her by one of the minute clinic places at CVS or something to see about pink eye -but still a shorter and easier trip than the ER.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

The eyes have ducts that drain into the sinuses so the cold germs can get to the eye that way. My son had this kind of thing when he was 3 also--cold, fever and pink eye symptoms. Our doctor gave antibiotic eye drops and oral antibiotics. So it is worth a trip to the doctor/urgent care if you can get there before the holiday. I'm not sure if it is worth the ER drama. Also, eye drops are not easy to get into a 3 year old (or at least mine).

The baby shampoo thing I have heard too (my best friend was told to do it by her eye doctor). I used it to keep myself from getting pink eye when my kid(s) had it. How I was told to do it was put a drop of shampoo in a cupped hand or cup and add water then up the soapy water up to your eye. Even if you have your eye closed, wash by the corners. I'm not sure how to do this to a child but it may be worth a try.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

This is not alarming. It just means that cold germs have gotten into her eye. Happens to me all the time. Just like with a cold you have to wait it out. It's a virus.

You can put a warm moist cloth on the eye to soothe it somewhat.

Melody, what did the mother learn at the ER? The fact that she went doesn't mean that it was necessary.

If you want more reassurance call the doctor's answering service. There will be a doctor on duty to answer such questions. Or call the hospital advice nurse.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

My daughter has gotten so congested that her eyes were runny too. Try a warm salt water compress on her eye. If it is really swollen and sore take her to an urgent care center.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Suzanna,

More than likely, your daughter has an inflamed tear duct caused by the virus also responsible for the cold. This should resolve on its own as her immune system clears the virus over the next 7 - 10 days. Viruses CANNOT be treated with antibiotics, and using antibiotics when the infecting pathogen is a virus can contribute to development of antibiotic resistance in those organisms (bacteria) which do respond to them. Please Mamas, practice good antibiotic stewardship, or someday soon we won't be able to treat even the simplest of bacterial infections, and we'll be back to the 1920's, when people died of simple infections like strep throat.

You can treat this locally with steam and warm compresses, along with a mild decongestant (like phenylephrine) and lots of fluid to help thin the mucus that's accumulated in the duct so it can drain through the sinuses and nose, appropriately. You can use children's ibuprofen (motrin, advil) to help relieve your daughter's fever, pain, and inflammation. If, however, her fever suddenly climbs to over 103 deg. F and/or if the pain becomes severe, she can't tolerate normal light, or you see greenish pus oozing from her eye, these may be signs of a bacterial infection, which would need to be treated with antibiotics, and you should take your child to see a doctor. You don't need to go to an ER, however. An urgent care center would be more appropriate and, depending on your insurance, less expensive. BTW, most pediatricians have partners who are available or on call when they're out of the office. They rarely leave their practices unattended. Have you tried calling the doctor's answering service?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like "Pink Eye" and should be treated with medicated drops right away. I would go to the Urgent Care ASAP



answers from Reno on

Hi. I'd get a saline solution and rinse her eyes (both to be safe) a couple times a day. My daughter had a cold once and being so young and not knowing better, she would wipe her nose with her hand and then rub her eye. This (according to the dr.) gave her pink eye. In any case, I'd rinse her eyes out and see if that helps. Watch her temperature, also. Best of luck! Doesn't it seem insane how our children get sick over the holidays?!?




answers from Honolulu on

Go to an Urgent Care office.

My son was sick once, with Croup.
He also had Conjunctivitis, at the same time.
Same related illness, but in his eye.
We had to use eye drop antibiotics for 10 days.
And then it cleared up.

Eye infections, if it is that... is contagious....

Using Johnson's and Johnson's shampoo... I heard helps.
Not sure how to use it though.
Maybe Google search it.



answers from Los Angeles on

My son had the same symptoms and progressed into periorbital cellulitis in a matter of hours. Required hospital stay for 5 days of IV antibiotics. I would definitely get it checked out to be safe.

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