Our First Bout with Pink Eye!

Updated on January 15, 2010
K.L. asks from Bozeman, MT
12 answers

Hi ladies! So, our almost 4 year old contracted pink eye at preschool. On top of that he has tonsillitis and an ear infection. Both are being treated, but my real concern is the pink eye and the fact that we also have a 4 month old baby in the house. Has anyone dealt with pink eye and had it NOT spread to the rest of the family? They don't share any blankets, toys, towels, etc. obviously and my husband and I have been washing our hands and/or using sanitizer before we touch the baby and any time after giving meds, etc. to our son. Our son is not big on touching the baby a lot so that isn't a big concern either. Are we doing everything we can to prevent it spreading to the baby? Is there more we could do? Is it possible to keep it from spreading? Thanks in advance for all your help.



My husband and I both wear contacts. Does anyone know if that will cause extra problems if we contract it?

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much Mamas for all of your help! It's only day 2 after the doctor, but so far everyone seems clear. Your advice has made me feel much better and not so "freaked out." For some reason, especially since we had never dealt with it, Pink Eye always sounded horrible to me. I think I was just more scared for the baby than anyone else. Thanks again!

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answers from Denver on

My husband and I have both had minor cases of some kind of conjuctivitis with contacts, and it was miserable. Basically couldn't wear them for weeks. Seemed like it would never go away, and that was using drops. Good luck with it all!

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answers from Des Moines on

this may sound odd but are you breastfeeding your 4 month old? if you are you should take some of the breastmilk and put it in your 4 year olds eye a few times a day. my son got this when he was about 10 months. the breast milk cleared it up in only about 2 days totally gone by 5 days. wash your hands often and wash all the bed sheets and clothes



answers from Omaha on

Hi Kristen,

I am an Optometrist and just wanted to let you know that you are absolutely doing everything you should be doing to prevent spreading the infection to other family members. It's actually surprisingly more difficult to spread than most people think. As long as you are keeping the hands clean and being careful not to touch the eyes, you should all be fine and like Kimberly stated if you do contract it just throw out your contacts, cases, solutions and start fresh when it has cleared. I definately do not recommend putting breast milk in a child's eyes there are components in it which can irritate and disrupt the cornea. The infection is self limiting and will resolve on it's own, but is best helped along with antibiotics.

Take care,



answers from Boise on


I don't know about your initial question, but I help with the contacts question. I have gotten Pink 3 times because I worked in several day cares...in fact I might get it now....any one says "Pink eye" in my vicinity and I get it. :) I even got Viral pink eye...which was one of the most painful things I have experienced. I sat in a dark room and stared at the carpet for 3 days. It hurt to open my eyes..and when I closed them I felt like they were getting pulled out the back of head….anyways. (most Pink eye is different and relatively painless) Whether you have pink eye or no, you know it is in your house. Take out your contacts and throw them away. Also throw away your lens solution and carrying/stowing case. Wear glasses until the pink eye is completely gone (I always waited a week AFTER my eye was completely clear to put in new ones.) The first time I got it I didn't throw away my lens solution and I gave it back to myself....so I recommend you just chuck everything. :) Hope this helps!



answers from Pocatello on

I would talk to your 4 year old and try to watch him carefully. Make sure for the first day or two of eye drops, that he knows that if he touches his face anywhere near his eyes that he needs to wash his hands really good before he touches anything so the bacteria doesn't get transferred. Have the 4 year old use the same pillow and blanket and then wash them after he's had the eye drops for a couple of days.

Your baby really can't get it as long as it doesn't get it easily if your 4 yr old isn't touching him...as long as you don't transfer it yourself. If you are washing your hands well before you handle the baby you shouldn't need to worry. I love that little babies that aren't mobile yet are so much easier to keep away from the things that do spread so easily.



answers from Colorado Springs on

Sounds like you are doing all you can to stop the spread of pink eye. Lots of hand washing is the first thing to do. Also I have found that using Neosporin in the baby's eye or anyone's eye with pink eye will help clear it up quickly and doesn't hurt the eye at all. No burning.



answers from Denver on

Not sure about not spreading it, but we've never had a big issue with it spreading when we've had it. If you wear soft contacts, you can use the hydrogen peroxide kind of cleaner to prevent it, but really, if you get it, it's better to just get new contacts. If you have hard contacts it's not an issue. Washing hands is a very effective way to prevent it, so it sounds like you're on the right track. Hope everyone feels better soon!



answers from Denver on

Hi K. - glad to hear your son's infection is clearing up. I've gotten it from my son a couple of times and boy is it uncomfortable until those antibiotic drops kick in. If you ever get it, be sure to leave your contacts out until the infection is cleared.

Just wanted to share with you a mistake I made first time my son had pink eye. I washed his favorite blanky, his bedding and comforters etc but I didnt think to wash his stuffed animals that he sleeps with. When he got pink eye again soon after the drops were done, I realized that his bear was the culprit. I ran it through the washer and the dryer on the delicate cycle in a mesh bag and it faired just fine.



answers from Boise on

My son also got pink eye during school and we were able to prevent it from going through the family. The thing we tried to remember was to have our son wash his hands before doing anything, and anything that touched his face had to be washed. We also reminded him not to touch his eyes at all. After we treated his eyes we would immediately wash our hands before doing anything else.



answers from Boise on

My son had pink eye about every other month for a while - he would get it every time he had a ear infection and when we finally go tubes it went away. It really is just an irritation of the eye, and not too serious, but very contagious. My husband and I never caught it from our son in all the times (about 7 or 8) that he had it. We were told by our doc that if we did get it my husband would have to wear his glasses, and no contacts, until it cleared as the contacts would add irritation to the eye.



answers from Provo on

Pink eye isn't nearly as serious as a lot of people make it out to be. It's essentially a cold in your eye. If you or your husband get it I would stay away from the contacts for a few days. Your eyes could get kind of goopy.

You're doing fine to prevent, but don't freak out if someone else does get it. Treat it how you would a cold - keep surfaces clean (especially toys that the baby might put in her mouth) and do lots of laundry - all bedding that touches your son should probably be washed every other day.

You'll be fine. :)



answers from Salt Lake City on

If you and your husband get it you will need to clean contacts well and leave them off until the infection clears up. It sounds like you are doing what you can to prevent the baby from getting it. Good handwashing and not sharing items that your son might rub his eyes on is the best prevention. We have had pink eye before and sometimes it spreads to others and sometimes not. I think depending on how vigilant we are with towel sharing, etc.

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