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?
The most common symptoms of conjunctivitis are:
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:
Bacterial Conjunctivitis: The presence of bacteria in the eye can lead to an infection. The symptoms are:
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.
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.
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.
While treatment is available, the best act is to prevent eye in the first place.