It can be a little frightening the first time a parent sees their child walk up rubbing their eyes, possibly complaining that it feels like there’s sand in them. The eyes look pinkish-red, bloodshot. The eyes might be itchy or weeping. When the kid first wakes up, his eyelids could be stuck together. The child might complain that light bothers his eyes or that her eyes hurt. What’s the problem? Pink eye.
Pink eye sometimes accompanies a cold or other sickness, and sometimes it is the only symptom. While it is not a serious condition, it is uncomfortable, very contagious, and can cause a child to miss school. Fortunately, there are inexpensive home remedies that will help to cure pink eye.
Prevent Pink Eye from Spreading
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Occasionally, pink eye is caused by allergies or environmental irritants and is not contagious. However, the safest practice is to assume that it’s contagious and act accordingly. If a child has pink eye in one eye and rubs the other, it will spread to the other eye. Pink eye will spread from touching a used tissue or towel or simply from coughing or sneezing.
Here are a few tips on preventing pink eye from spreading:
- Wash hands often and thoroughly, with warm water and soap.
- Don’t share anything that could have touched the eye, such as eye drops, makeup, towels or even pillowcases.
- Anything worn or used by someone who has pink eye, such as clothing, towels or bedding, should be washed separately in hot water.
Natural Treatments for Pink Eye
Natural treatments for pink eye include apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and activated charcoal powder. Several herbs are also helpful, including chamomile, eyebright, and black tea. Always treat both eyes even if only one eye appears to be infected. It will help prevent the other eye from getting the infection.
Continue to treat the eyes a day or two after symptoms are completely gone. While a family member has pink eye, wash towels often. Using disposable paper towels to dry hands after hand washing will also reduce risk of contamination to other family members.
Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw organic apple cider vinegar is one of Earth Clinic’s top cures for pink eye.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar to 1/2 cup of boiled and cooled (or distilled) water.
- Use a cotton ball to apply the cool water-vinegar mixture to the eye several times a day.
- It can be applied to the eyelid and a bit will go into the eyes when the eyes open again. It may sting a bit temporarily.
Activated Charcoal Powder
Activated charcoal powder can be made into a “tea” for pink eye.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder in 1/2 cup of water.
- Strain the mixture through a coffee filter.
- Use the filtered gray water in the eyes – a drop or two several times a day.
Extra virgin coconut oil can be gently rubbed across the eyelid several times a day. Be careful to wash hands thoroughly after each treatment to prevent spreading.
Herbs for Pink Eye
- Boil water and pour just enough over a tea bag to moisten completely.
- When the tea bag has cooled, place the tea bag over the eye for 5-10 minutes.
- This should be done at least three times a day.
Alternately, make a cup of chamomile tea.
- Dip a cotton ball into the tea hourly and wipe the infected eyes. (This is easier to use for a child that won’t sit still for the tea bag remedy.)
- Make a fresh batch daily and use a clean cotton ball for each eye and new cotton balls each time you clean the eyes.
- If you happen to have the herb eyebright on hand, it can be used instead of the chamomile.
We hope that you have found this helpful. Please scroll down to see what other Earth Clinic readers have found helpful for treating pink eye in children.
If you have a natural remedy for pink eye, please share it with us!
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