Can my child go to school with conjunctivitis? Is eye condition contagious, symptoms in children and treatment

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There are a number of things you can do to help ease symptoms of conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is an eye condition caused by infection or allergies.

Although it usually gets better in a couple of weeks without treatment, can your child go to school if they have the condition?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is conjunctivitis?

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Conjunctivitis is an eye condition caused by infection or allergies and is also known as red or pink eye.

What are the symptoms?

Conjunctivitis usually affects both eyes and makes them:

  • red
  • burn or feel gritty
  • produce pus that sticks to lashes
  • itch
  • water
  • a sticky eye producing pus

However, conjunctivitis that produces sticky pus is contagious.

Conjunctivitis caused by allergies like hay fever makes eyes red and watery but is not contagious.

However, conjunctivitis that produces sticky pus is contagious.

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Can my child go to school with conjunctivitis?

If your child has conjunctivitis, you may be wondering if they can still go to school.

The NHS website said: “You do not need to stay away from work or school unless you or your child are feeling very unwell.”

How can I treat conjunctivitis?

There are a number of things you can do to help ease your symptoms, including:

  • Boiling water and letting it cool down before you gently wipe your eyelashes to clean off crusts with a clean cotton wool pad (1 piece for each eye).
  • Holding a cold flannel on your eyes for a few minutes to cool them down.

Do not wear contact lenses until your eyes are better.

You can also speak to a pharmacist about conjunctivitis, who can give you advice and suggest eye drops or antihistamines to help with symptoms.

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If you need treatment for a child under 2, you’ll need a prescription from a GP.

How do I stop infectious conjunctivitis from spreading?

To stop infectious conjunctivitis from spreading, you should:

  • wash your hands regularly with warm soapy water
  • wash your pillowcases and face cloths in hot water and detergent
  • cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and put used tissues in the bin

Don’t share towels and pillows or rub your eyes.

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