It is not unusual for a child to develop both pink eye and diaper rash at the same time. In fact, it is not uncommon for children to experience various skin infections simultaneously. But does one infection cause the other? And if so, which one comes first? In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the relationship between pink eye and diaper rash, and try to answer these questions.
What is pink eye?
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the white part of the eye), the transparent outer layer of the white component of the eye as well as the inside lining of the eyelids. It is one of the most common eye infections in younger children and adults. Although it can be caused by a variety of factors, bacterial and viral infections are the most prevalent.
Pink eye can affect children of all ages at any time of year, and it spreads quickly from person to person or from one eye to the other by contact with the eye discharge.
What causes pink eye?
Pink eye in babies and toddlers can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- The most prevalent cause of pink eye in newborns and toddlers is viruses. They are also the source of common colds, the flu and other upper respiratory infections. And if your children start sniffling, you should check their eyes because this could be a sign of pink eye.
- A bacterial infection, some of which are also responsible for strep throat and ear infections. So a child with bacterial pink eye might also have an ear infection.
- Dust, pollen, animal dander, and mold are examples of allergens that cause allergic conjunctivitis.
- Smog and chlorine are examples of irritants.
A sexually transmitted infection, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, can also be passed from a mother to her infant during birth, producing pink eye, which is why all babies are given antibiotic eye drops or ointment upon birth. These eye drops may produce mild chemical conjunctivitis, which will resolve on its own.
Is pink-eye contagious?
Infectious conjunctivitis which is caused by viral and bacterial infections is extremely contagious. Coughing, sneezing, and hand-eye contact with eye fluids are all ways for them to spread from one infected person to another.
However, allergic conjunctivitis caused by irritants and allergens is not contagious.
How serious is pink-eye in babies?
Although pink eye during the early years of life isn’t always serious, it does necessitate urgent medical attention because it can be an indication of a serious infection. Bacterial pink eye in babies, if left untreated, can lead to other symptoms of serious infections in other parts of the body. In the case of herpes, blindness, extreme light sensitivity and vision difficulties may occur.
Later in a baby’s life, pink eye is mainly caused by viruses and bacterial infections and is not regarded as a medical emergency.
How to prevent contagious conjunctivitis or pink eye?
Pinkeye is difficult to prevent in children because it frequently comes with colds.
Washing of the hands is also necessary for your child, you, and any caregivers. Your child can return to daycare or school the day after therapy begins, as long as there is no excessive watery discharge from the eye.
Pinkeye caused by bacteria is particularly contagious and spreads rapidly when children wipe their eyes, so discourage your child from doing so. When a child is treated for 24 hours with antibiotic drops or ointment for pinkeye caused by bacteria, the chances of the infection spreading decrease.
In the case of bacterial pinkeye caused by sexually transmitted diseases, the use of antibiotic eye ointment for all newborns shortly after birth has reduced the risk of gonorrhea spreading, which can cause blindness. If the lady giving birth has active genital herpes at the time of birth, a cesarean section is usually suggested because the bacteria might be present in her birth canal.
For allergic pink eye, allergy triggers like dust must be completely avoided.
How is pink eye treated?
The treatment of pink eye depends on what is causing it.
If a bacterial illness is suspected, pediatricians will prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections.
Because viral pink eye resolves on its own, if your doctor suspects a virus is causing your child’s symptoms, he or she will likely advise you on how to avoid spreading the infection and make your child feel better while you wait it out. Blocked tear ducts in your baby’s eyes, warm compresses can help. Using warm water and cotton balls, clean discharges off the surrounding of the infected eye.
If your doctor feels your child has allergic pink eye, he or she may advise you to use antihistamine eye drops. If an irritant, such as chlorine, is causing the redness, your doctor may advise you to rinse your child’s eyes or use specific eye drops. Just make sure to acquire your doctor’s permission before putting anything in your child’s eye.
Your eye doctor might suggest your child refrain from wearing her contact lenses until the pink eye is completely healed.
Does pink eye cause diaper rash?
Pink eye doesn’t cause diaper rash. However, it is possible for babies to have both at the same time. The rash that accompanies pink eye is usually localized around the eyes. Classic allergy symptoms such as itchiness, mild swelling of the eyes, allergic rhinitis, nose congestion and sneezing might be present.
If your baby is taking medications to treat pink eye and develops a diaper rash, call your doctor right away. Your baby might be having an allergic reaction to the medication.
In the case of bacterial pink eye, a doctor might prescribe antibiotic drops. Antibiotics usually cause a yeast infection in some children and this could lead to a yeast diaper rash. Yeast rashes appear as red bumps on the skin in the diaper area.
Diaper rash in most babies usually heals on its own after a few days. But you can make it go away quicker with basic diaper care and home remedies like cleaning the diaper area with warm water and soap on a cotton ball instead of alcohol-based baby wipes. Frequent diaper changes also help, so does apply barrier cream at every diaper change.
The Bottom Line
While it is possible for babies to have both pink eye and diaper rash simultaneously, it is not typically the case. Usually, pink eye is associated with a rash around the eyes. If your baby is being treated for pink eye and develops a diaper rash, call your doctor right away. The medication might be causing your baby to have an allergic reaction in the form of diaper rashes.