Conjunctivitis is a fairly common pathology in children, especially when there are influenza, catarrhal or other pathologies, but it is important to determine its cause, since the treatment differs according to its cause. Today in this article we are going to specify bacterial conjunctivitis in children.
How bacterial conjunctivitis is spread
Despite being the last sense that develops in the fetus (from the eighth a week), it is one of the five most important senses in the human when it comes to receiving any information, and not only because of the images it captures but also for all the sensations that accompany those snapshots. This fact means that, if the sense of sight is altered by any circumstance, we could have serious learning and behavioral problems.
The eye has a very important part called conjunctiva, which is a thin and almost transparent membrane that covers the front part of the eye and the inner layer of the eyelids. The conjunctiva has several functions, among which we have:
– Protects the eye from external agents, such as dust, pollen, smoke, air particles, splinters of metal or wood, which can cause trauma or allergic processes, and also from microorganisms, which can cause infectious diseases, including contagious.
– Keeps the front of the eye moist and lubricated.
– It keeps the inner layer of the eyelid lubricated and hydrated, so that it can open and close without causing friction or irritation in the eye.
– Nourishes the eye and eyelid through its small blood vessels.
– Prevents the so-called dry eye syndrome, since its cells secrete a component to the tear film.
The conjunctiva can be affected by several pathologies and one of the most frequent is conjunctivitis, called red or pink eye (named for the inflammation of its blood vessels, which gives that color to the eye). Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva caused by several causes: infectious (bacteria, viruses and chlamydia), allergies, irritations and keratoconjunctivitis.
The bacterial conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva caused by bacteria, often from other infections elsewhere in the body, such as ears, sinuses, throat or respiratory tract. It usually occurs acutely, can affect one or both eyes and is less frequent than conjunctivitis of viral origin.
When the parents take me to the child for consultation I can see that the upper and lower eyelid is usually edematized (swollen), to the point of closing almost the eye and when examining it the fairly red and very irritable conjunctiva can be seen, with yellowish exudate and when interrogated refers to feeling pain in the eye, feeling of sand or foreign body and sensitivity to light (photophobia).
The presence of fever is rare, unless it is due to some complication of the same pathology or other diseases that could cause conjunctivitis. It is a fairly contagious infection, although less than the viral one, being able to infect other children or adults when symptoms appear and, even, 24 hours after starting treatment and while maintaining purulent secretion.
Also children can be spread when they touch an object that has touched another child who also suffer from conjunctivitis, or through coughing or sneezing. Many times the infection begins in a single eye, but soon after, it is spread by the other eye with your own hands or with the cloth or paper that cleanses the secretion of the sick eye.
In the summer it is one of the frequent diseases, when children become infected in the pool water. Newborns, on the other hand, can also suffer from contagion conjunctivitis during childbirth, through the vaginal canal, if the mother has a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Treatment and recommendations for bacterial conjunctivitis in children
When I make the diagnosis of bacterial conjunctivitis, especially due to the presence of purulent secretion, which can be performed a culture and antibiogram, indicated antibiotics in drops or ointments and anti-inflammatory and analgesic medication if there is edema of the eye and pain. Later I refer to the ophthalmologist for evaluation and discard of other eye pathologies.
And in the case of newborns born by delivery or caesarean section, antibiotic drops are administered preventively, placing two drops in each eye. Here are some recommendations:
– Avoid running your hands through your eyes, so as not to contaminate the other eye, if it is not yet contaminated.
– Do not use towels that you share with other children or adults.
– Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
– Try not to contaminate the objects around you: tables, chairs, toys, pencil, notebooks, etc., since if touched by another child or adult it is very likely to be infected.
– Avoid swimming in pools with dirty or not well treated waters.
– Wear dark lenses if sunlight or artificial light is not tolerable.
– If you wear contact lenses, do not wear during active infection and throw away the lenses if they became contaminated.
– When cleaning the eye, do it preferably with a gauze impregnated only in filtered or fresh water previously boiled and throw the gauze when finished.
– Avoid compresses or clean the eye with chamomile water, since bacteria reproduce more easily in that sweet medium.
– Change the bedding, at least the first 3 days of treatment.
– Do not self-medicate.
– Consult with your pediatrician as soon as possible and if on the third day of treatment there is no improvement, consult again.
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