What are the symptoms of conjunctivitis in babies?

Conjunctivitis in babies can cause a variety of symptoms, which can vary depending on the underlying cause of the problem. The most common indication of the condition is redness of the whites of the eyes, which is why it is commonly known as pink eye. This can affect one eye or both, or it can start in one and then spread to the other. Babies' eyes will often water and cry when they have conjunctivitis; They may also have a thick, yellowish discharge from their eyes. Some babies' eyes may be swollen and itchy, and others may have symptoms such as a runny nose or cough.

Red, bloodshot eyes are the main symptom of conjunctivitis in babies, and it's common to all forms of the condition. One or both eyes usually develop a pinkish hue to the whites; often the edges of the eyelids become red and swollen as well. This is due to irritation of the conjunctiva, which is a transparent membrane that extends over the inside of the eyelids and the whites of the eyes.

Discharge from the eyes is a common sign of conjunctivitis in babies. Tearing is common to all types of conjunctivitis; Some young children's tear drainage ducts are not well developed, so some parents may notice tears spilling onto their babies' eyelids. If pink eye is caused by bacteria such as staph or strep, there may be a yellow, mucous-like discharge. Often a baby's eyelids and eyelashes will be crusty or sticky together due to excess watering and discharge.

Conjunctivitis in babies is usually the result of an infection, either bacterial or viral. In cases where the virus is to blame, pink eye is often accompanied by other symptoms, often similar to a common cold. These may include a runny nose, sneezing, or coughing. Some babies may even develop a fever as their bodies work to fight off the virus.

Allergic conjunctivitis in infants is relatively rare and may present slightly differently than cases caused by infection. The eyes will tend to swell and itch when allergens are the cause. The baby may also have a runny nose at the same time due to the allergic reaction. These symptoms can persist as long as the baby continues to be exposed to whatever is causing the irritation; There is also a risk of infection if it is allowed to continue for too long.

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