What To Do About Pink Eye During Pregnancy
As a mother to be, infections are always going to be a concern for you, and pink eye is certainly no exception. Being diagnosed with pink eye does not mean that there is any danger being posed to the baby, but immediate care should be considered to get rid of the communicable disease as quickly as possible.
In this guide, we will look at some of the reasons that you could acquire pink eye, the dangers that it poses to your baby if it is left untreated, and some remedies that you can try to help relieve the symptoms.
Types of Pink Eye
If you notice that one or both of your eyes is red, irritated, itchy, and swollen, then you may have pink eye. There are a few different types of pink eye that you could end up having during your pregnancy.
The treatment will depend greatly on whether the symptoms are being caused by a virus or a bacterial infection.
If you have pink eye because of a virus, then it will most likely clear up on its own with time. Your eye will be red and any discharge or fluid coming from your eye will be clear.
On the other hand, bacterial pink eye will need to be treated with antibiotics.
You will know that this is what ails you because the discharge coming from your eyes will look like mucus. It will have a green or yellowish coloration, and it can often paste your eyes shut while you are asleep.
Allergies can also be the cause of pink eye, but once the irritant is no longer near you, the symptoms will stop on their own. Sometimes an antihistamine may be used, but consult your doctor first when you are pregnant.
Is Pink Eye Dangerous During Pregnancy?
Pink eye is not a direct threat during the pregnancy, but remember that pink eye is a highly contagious illness, so if you still have the symptoms when you give birth, there is a chance that the baby can contract it as well.
Since having bacterial pink eye requires antibiotics to cure, you will need to discuss which ones will be best for you to take while you are pregnant with your doctor.
If the bacterial infection is not bad, they may even suggest trying to overcome the infection without antibiotics.
When you are pregnant, the use of any medication needs to be considered in great detail. When the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks to the baby, your doctor will often suggest using it.
In the case of pink eye, not taking antibiotics will ensure that the virus sticks around for a longer period of time. In fact, bacterial pink eye that is not treated lasts at least seven to 10 days whereas it only lasts two to four days with proper treatment.
If you still have pink eye when you give birth to your baby, there is a large chance that your infant will get pink eye or neonatal conjunctivitis.
If you notice any discharge coming from your baby’s eyes, make sure to get them medical attention immediately because a pink eye bacterial infection can cause corneal scarring in a baby. If the symptoms are severe enough, it could even lead to blindness.
Some STDs like Herpes and Chlamydia can cause your baby to get an eye infection when they are born.
The virus is picked up when the baby goes through the birth canal, so if you believe that you have one of these medical concerns, talk to your doctor so that precautions can be taken to protect your baby.
Treatment Options for Pink Eye
As we discussed, antibiotics are often given to treat pink eye. Not all antibiotics are safe to use when you are pregnant, so it is important to talk to your doctor so that you do not take something that is unsafe.
In most situations, the treatment prescribed will be over the counter eye drops that are not a risk to you or your baby. If the pink eye is accompanied by congestion, antihistamines may be prescribed as well.
To help soothe the infected eye, your doctor may recommend that you utilize either hot or cold compresses while you are at home. If the cause of your pink eye is allergy related, then cold compresses will help to relieve the itch and the irritation associated with it.
For a bacterial infection of a viral one, your doctor may suggest warm compresses to help minimize the swelling and the redness in the affected eyes.
When you use a washcloth for a compress on your eyes, make sure that you never reuse the same cloth twice. Always get a clean cloth, unless you want to infect the other eye as well.
If you wear contacts, it may be a good idea to wear your glasses for a short period of time. If the infection clings to your contacts, you will only re-infect your eye.
If your contacts were exposed to the virus, you should dispose of them and use another pair that has not been infected.
If your eyes are sore, you can create a salt water wash that you can use to rinse the irritations from your eyes.
If you make this solution to put in your eyes, then you should make sure that the water is sterilized first. This will help to guarantee that the water will not irritate your eyes more than they already are.
Prevention is the Best Remedy
As with any illness, prevention is the best medication. If you can avoid getting pink eye while you are with child, then you won’t have to worry whether or not the antibiotics that you use are safe.
Let’s take a look at some tips that you can follow to keep you from getting pink eye.
- Wash your hands frequently with warm water and lots of soapy suds so that you can keep your hands free of germs when you are around someone with pink eye.
- If someone in your home had pinkeye and they used rewetting drops, never use the same bottle that they did because the infectious bacteria could still be on the bottle.
- Keep all of the bed sheets and towels that may have been contaminated from the pink eye separate. In fact, you will want to wash them separate from the other clothes as well.
- Don’t share cosmetics or cosmetic brushes while you are pregnant, and never reuse a cotton ball or a tissue because it could contain irritants that will lead to pink eye.
If you are diagnosed with pink eye while you are pregnant, make sure to talk to your doctor immediately to see whether it is a viral infection or a bacterial one.
Then, you can discuss your treatment options and figure out the best path forward so that you do not risk giving your baby pink eye when he or she is born.
Once the symptoms are gone, you need to practice prevention.
Here are some tips to help:
- Don’t share cosmetics.
- Don’t share washcloths and towels.
- Keep your hands clean as much as possible.
- Avoid individuals with pink eye while you are with child.