My Baby has Pink Eye
Dear Dr. T:
My baby is only 10 weeks old and this morning she had crust in her eye and it was stuck shut. It is Sunday and I just lost my insurance so I don't have a regular pediatrician and I don't want to pay for an emergency room visit. Is there anything I can do?
It sounds like your baby has conjunctivitis (aka: pink eye). It can be caused by a bacteria or a virus and sometimes in newborns it can be a blocked tear duct. Use warm water to soak the eye and help remove the crust. Conjunctivitis will usually resolve within about 7 days but it is contagious so strict hand washing and keeping the baby away from others is essential. You do not need to rush to an emergency department on a Sunday (where the bill will likely be hundreds of dollars), but you should still have a pediatrician for your newborn. The cost of an office visit us usually affordable so have your baby examined this week. The pediatrician may prescribe eye drops to clear up an infection and he can also check for a blocked tear duct.