Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month is the perfect time to brush up on your knowledge of eye infections. Both bacteria and viruses can be the culprits, and kids are often easy targets. Use these simple tricks and tips to minimize your child?s risk.

Good hygiene is key to preventing eye infections in children

While you don’t have to stress out over good hygiene, it’s definitely worth the effort of teaching your children some fast and easy ways to minimize their odds of getting eye infections.? And remember, it may take repeated teaching moments to get your kids to remember to do these things without reminders, but eventually, it’ll stick.

Teach children to wash their hands frequently. A good rule of thumb is to always wash their hands after using the washroom, after blowing their nose, and before eating.

Tell your child to avoid touching their eyes. This helps prevent the transfer of infectious bacteria or viruses, and dramatically reduces their risk of contracting an infection. Additionally, if your child already has an eye infection, this practice will help to prevent them from spreading it to other siblings in the household, their parents, and their peers at school or daycare.

Another good tip is that if one person in your household has an eye infection, they shouldn’t share towels, facecloths, or anything else that comes into contact with their eyes with other family members. This will go a long way towards preventing everyone else from catching their infection.

If your child has a sinus infection, teach them not to blow their nose too forcefully, as this can cause viral or bacterial particles to travel from the nasal passageways to the eye via the tear drainage ducts (these allow tears to drain from the eyes to the nasal passageways).

Prompt treatment of eye infections helps to ensure a speedy recovery

Many eye infections will get better on their own, even without treatment. However, it’s a good idea to get your child checked out by a doctor if the eyes are very red, sensitive to light, or painful. Also, if they have blurred vision, get them medical attention ASAP.

In addition to seeing a physician, there are some things you can do at home that may help to alleviate symptoms and speed recovery. Apply a cool compress to the eye to relieve discomfort. (But make sure that no one else in the household uses that same compress since the infection could be spread from person to person that way.)

Also, if they’ve been prescribed antibiotics for their eye infection and the symptoms are getting worse or failing to improve after 24 hours, take them back to the doctor to get re-evaluated.

Healing time required

An eye infection caused by a virus can take anywhere from one to three weeks to go away. If bacteria is the culprit, the infection may go away in as little as five days, but can sometimes hang on longer ? for up to three weeks.

Minimize the risk of eye infections and treat them promptly if they do occur

Your child’s risk of catching an eye infection can be dramatically reduced via good hygiene practices. And if they do catch one, proper treatment can help to minimize its duration and heal it promptly.