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Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a highly contagious disease that results in a reddening of the eye. This condition is very common in school-age children due to their proximity to other kids and less-than-impressive hygienic practices. Pink eye can last several weeks and your child may have to stay home from school, so whether you're in Covina, CA or the east coast, here are a few ways to protect your child from pink eye.

1. Instill Hand Washing Behavior Early On

One of the quickest ways to come down with pink eye is by rubbing your eyes after coming into contact with the disease. Anything from a borrowed pencil to a shared toy can spread pink eye, so teaching your child to wash their hands frequently can go a long way in prevention. It's also smart to teach your child to avoid rubbing their eyes.

2. Properly Prepare for Sleepovers

A child at a sleepover is more at risk for contracting pink eye, as the disease can be easily spread by using the pillow of an infected person. When sending your child to a friend's home for a sleepover, make sure they take their own pillow, tissues and sleeping bag if necessary.

3. Use Swimming Goggles

Most children jump at the opportunity to go swimming. Unfortunately, pink eye can be spread by swimming in contaminated water. It's difficult to tell a child they can't go swimming because the water might be infected, but sending them off with their own pair of swimming goggles can reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus.

4. Don't Share Eye Drops

If your child's friend has reddening in their eyes, it could be due to numerous reasons. Just to be on the safe side, though, you should get rid of eye drops used on someone who may have pink eye. These solutions can easily spread the disease from one person to the other, so don't be afraid to invest $3 in another bottle.

5. Keep Hand Sanitizer Handy

When spending time with your child, there won't always be a sink nearby. This means a five-minute drive from the playground provides more than enough time for your little one to rub the disease in their eyes. Fortunately, some hand sanitizers kill up to 99.9 percent of germs, and this is why the Centers for Disease Control recommend using an alcohol-based sanitizer to prevent pink eye.

If you suspect your little one has come down with pink eye, contact Castellanos Family Practice today. Your child could be suffering from a more serious type of conjunctivitis, which can lead to eye damage, and due to its easily treatable nature, there's no good reason to take a chance.

5 Ways to Protect Your Child From Pink Eye

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