? Pink Eye - Yet Another Afflicted Family ???

Updated on January 09, 2009
C.B. asks from Lafayette, CO
8 answers

So the Saturday before Christmas, my son awakens with his right eye stuck shut (goopy yellow stuff- nasty). Also has a runny nose. I cleaned his eye carefully (so as not to contaminate the other eye) but he awoke with it Sunday too. It persisted over the weekend. Monday, the doctor's office called in an Rx for Gentamycin eye drops- 4 times a day until he's better for 48 hours (up to 5-7 days). They did not see him. (he was otherwise well- didn't appear "sick" looking, no fevers.) We continued the eye drops through Christmas (Thursday) His eyes were actually clear by Tuesday, so we figured 48 hours was good.

We used clorox wipes and Lysol on nearly everything- toys, doorknobs, remote controls, changing tables/crib, etc. All the linens (his and ours- sheets/blankets/stuffed animals/ towels were all washed. We wash our hands like CRAZY (my skin is about to fall off...) and have the Purell-type stuff in each room. I'm thinking we're safe.

Of course, the next saturday, my husband gets it. The doc's office calls in an eye drop Rx for him too- he's better after a couple of days. Again, we wash/wipe/spray everything (I even clorox wiped all of his pages of my son's board books). We continue to wash our hands all the time. I think we're over it.

OF COURSE, today, I come down with the itchy goopy eye. I was at work all day (I work at a hospital, so hand washing is second nature) and I really try not to touch my eyes... so I have no idea how I got it after all this time. Am I missing something major to decontaminate? How long do I need to keep it up? I know it's winter cold season so hand washing and cleaning is key, but what do I need to do differently to eliminate this "pink eye" or whatever it is? Also, what do you all use to clean sofas and such (non-machine washable slipcovers)- we just sprayed Lysol on them (misted it and let it dry) I don't know if this is enough.... Ugh!!

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answers from Boise on

We just went through this over Christmas as well. Our son woke up with it Christmas Eve, and after a couple of days our daughter of course got it. I don't know what you are missing as far as cleanliness, but I would like to offer you this...I was going to run my son to the doc after Christmas, but after doing some research I opted not to. We are big on letting our bodies try to heal themselves before we go for antibiotics or doc prescribed medications. Our doc is actually in agreement with us on that. If it is viral conjunctivitis, antibiotics don't work. Much like having a cold, antibiotics can't cure a virus. I read about using Chamomile tea to relive the irritation and draw out the virus. I was skeptical, but it worked. All I did was boil water and steep 2 tea bags(one for each eye)for about 2-3 minutes. I let the bags cool for about 5 minutes then placed the bags on each of the infected eyes for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, I squeezed one drop of the tea from the bags in each eye. I made sure to not to cross contaminate meaning I dropped left bag in left eye and right bag in right eye. When the kids would complain of their eyes itching in between "tea time" I would grab a terry cloth rag and get it wet with warm water for them to dab their eyes. They made sure not to use the same rag for both eyes, and would always wash their hands afterward. After about 5 days of doing this 2-3 times each day, all eyes are better. We have all been washing our hands like crazy, and I don't think I have ever washed so much laundry in one week, but my husband and I have yet to come down with pink eye. Thank God! It sounds like the drops that your doc prescribed worked a little faster, but if anyone out there isn't crazy about prescribed medications, I would say this is the way to go. My kids (6 and 4) both said the tea made their eyes feel better. One more thing to think of...if it is the type you get because of an allergic reaction I read that even glare from snow can cause it. Good luck with this, I know how you feel...well sorta.



answers from Denver on

My son had pink eye a couple weeks ago. The dr. said he would not be contagious after 48 hours of treatment, but we should continue to put drops in for seven days, otherwise the infection may come back. Good luck!



answers from Provo on

There a few things that other two responders didnt mention. Even though your families' "Pink eye" may have been bacterial, there are several things that cause "Pink eye" which is actually called Conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis can be caused by infections (such as bacteria and viruses), allergies, or substances that irritate the eyes. When my children contracted "Pink eye," I was concerned also, so I did some research. I found that even with all the cleaning, we can spread pink eye even when everyone is healthy. So, even with all your cleaning, which could have added to the pink eye symptoms, you could have spread it at night, especially since your husband also contracted it also. We have involuntary responses when we are asleep to stimuli that irritate us. So we may rub our eyes after touching the irritant accidently. Good thing is that although you can contract pink eye again, its a lot like contracting the same exact bacteria again, which is rare. However, the viral can spread again and again, eventually our immune systems catch up. Unless, there is an allergy, you can be sure that pink eye will eventually go away. I also asked my doctor who didn't test when my children contracted pink eye, if the infection was possibly viral, why she would give them the drops anyway. She responded that there is an ingredient in the drops that relieves the itching. Which, Im sure you you have noticed yourself. If it doesnt relieve anything, then you could be in for a nasty allergy of some kind. Good luck with your "pink eye" don't worry about passing it to others, unless someone has an immune difficiency. But, if you don't know anyone with that difficulty, this is something that makes our immune systems stronger.



answers from Missoula on

C., please stop using clorox and lysol, as a parent we need to protect our children, please read the labels and look up the msds sheets online. These chemicals are very dangerous to our young ones. www.gotgreennow.fourpointwellness.com this site should help you get some ideas on what they can and do cause.



answers from Boise on

We have the goop also. But I don't think it is pink eye. It is how my cold started. It is more of a cold in the eye. The eye drops the Dr. gave us don't even seem to be helping. I have about decided it just needs to run its course as it is getting better with time. The cold part has been awful. Of course I got it the worst. The rest of the family did pretty well. Not much help here. But there are other eye issues that are not pink eye.



answers from Denver on

There are two different forms of 'pink eye': viral and bacterial and unless your Dr tested, there is no way to know which you have....my guess would be viral however since it seems to be working its way through your house. Viral is passed with any secretions: nose, eye, mouth; bacterial is passed just with the eye discharge. And as you know, viral can't be fixed with anti-biotic drops.

When you call the Dr, mention that you believe its viral and have him actually confirm which type you have and it will help in deciding how to treat it more thoroughly.

Pink eye sucks :-) Hope you kick it soon!



answers from Salt Lake City on

We went through this a few years ago. First kid, we went to the doctor (she wanted to make sure it wasn't absessed, I guess a few parents say "it's gooey" when it's worse than that) and she gave us a prescription for the drops. The darn thing then made the rounds through our family, including me. Ugh.

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is very contageous. Its very easy to pass, especially among kids, since we don't always realize when we're touching our face/eye area. This is why kids can't to go school or daycare until the symptoms are all cleared up. As far as I know, though, the germ doesn't survive very long on non-living surfaces, so I wouldn't worry too much about the furniture (but Lysol isn't a bad idea).

If it seems to keep coming back through the same people, or if you are at all concerned, contact the doctor again. He can probably answer most questions over the phone but if you're worried about if the infection is really going away, go in and get seen - it's worth the time and expense for some peace of mind. Also, run it past your OB, just to make sure that there's no concerns for the baby (either with the germ or with the treatment).



answers from Denver on

Unfortuntaly there isnt much you can do any different than you are already doing. We went thru this also about a month or so ago. I just washed everything, (toys, beddign, clothes ect.) Once this bacteria gets on something it is very hard to get rid of. I am sure by now you are all healed but if there is ever a next time. Just keep everything clean. And since you work in a hospital you already know that you cant wash your hands enough, especially with children. Good Luck!

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