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Pink Eye in Pregnancy: Symptom, Treatment and Prevention | MedGuidance

Pink Eye in Pregnancy: Symptom, Treatment and Prevention

Medically known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is usually caused by an infection. The conjunctiva is the membrane that coats the eye’s outer and inner portion. Typically, the eye gets infected due to the presence of microorganisms such as bacteria and virus. However, allergies and certain sexually-transmitted diseases (STD) can also cause pink eye. Anyone can develop conjunctivitis, including pregnant women. What should you do if you develop pink eye while you are pregnant?

Symptoms of Pink Eye During Pregnancy

The most common symptoms of conjunctivitis are:

  • The white part of the eye becoming red
  • Irritation of the eye
  • Pain in the eye
  • A burning sensation or itching
  • Swelling in the infected area

Viral Conjunctivitis: If you develop pink eye while pregnant, it can be due to a viral infection. The common cause of this condition is adenovirus. Sore throats and the infection of the upper respiratory tract are also caused by this specific virus. Another virus that can infect the conjunctiva is the herpes virus. The most common symptoms are:

  • The white part of the eye becoming red
  • Inflammation of the eyelids
  • A burning sensation or itching within the eyelids
  • Swelling and tenderness in the area near the ears
  • Tearing
  • Presence of clear or whitish pus or discharge

Bacterial Conjunctivitis: The presence of bacteria in the eye can lead to an infection. The symptoms are:

  • The white part of the eye becoming red
  • Mild pain in the eye
  • Presence of gray or yellow pus or discharge. The eyelids may stick together because of the pus or discharge. 
  • Swollen upper eyelid. The eyelid may look like it is sagging or drooping.

Allergic Conjunctivitis: Pink eye can be caused by an allergic reaction. Typically, in this type of conjunctivitis, both eyes are affected. There is redness in the eyes and they are itchy. However, there is no presence of pus or discharge.

Note: Generally, conjunctivitis is not a risky condition and it does not harm your unborn child. However, if you experience symptoms of conjunctivitis during pregnancy, it is vital to seek medical attention. Your doctor can identify the specific cause of your pink eye and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Treatments for Pink Eye While Pregnant

Viral Conjunctivitis: Normally, viral pink eye can be treated without taking any medications.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis: For any bacterial infection such as pink eye, it is necessary to take antibiotics in order to treat the condition. Pregnant women must be careful when taking antibiotics. This is because some antibiotics can cause harm to your unborn child. Your doctor will prescribe medications that are considered safe for you and your baby.

Allergic Conjunctivitis: In cases of allergic conjunctivitis, an allergen is causing the irritation. The best way to treat this condition is to get rid of the allergen. Once removed, the pink eye will heal on its own. Another treatment option is to take antihistamines. To relieve the irritation, “artificial tears” can be used. It is an eye drop that you can buy over the counter.

Home Remedies

As of today, there is no specific home remedy that can effectively treat pink eye. However, you can apply hot or cold compress to relive the symptoms of pink eye. While doing this, it is vital that you use a clean and lint-free cloth. You can soak it in hot or cold water. After wringing, gently press the cloth on the inflamed eye for a couple of minutes. You can do this multiple times per day until the swelling is gone.

Generally, if you are experiencing pink eye while pregnant, a cold compress is more soothing. However, you can also opt for hot compress if you find it more comfortable. If only one eye is infected, the cloth must not touch the uninfected eye. This is important to prevent the infection from spreading to the other uninfected eye.

How to Prevent Pink Eye During Pregnancy

While treatment is available, the best act is to prevent eye in the first place.

  • Always wash your hands using warm water and soap. If you can’t wash your hands, a hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol can also be used. 
  • When cleaning your face, always use a clean washcloth.
  • Do not let other people use your cosmetics and eye drops.
  • If you are helping a person with pink eye, always protect your eyes by wearing glasses. Always wash your hands after treating the infected eye.
  • Always dispose all the cotton balls or tissues used by the person with conjunctivitis.
  • To prevent pink eye while pregnant, when doing laundry, always segregate the things used by the infected person such as clothes, towels, bed sheets and pillowcases.  

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