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The chances of a person having an eye infection are equal for adults and babies. Newborns may get an eye infection during childbirth, due to the bacteria present in the birth canal. Their eyes might begin to swell, there could be itchiness, and your baby will be upset and irritated because of these uncomfortable symptoms. However, some infections are minor and can be treated at home with simple remedies.
Also, several times, parents may not know if their babies have an eye infection. Prior knowledge about eye infections in infants can help you identify the cause of your little one’s discomfort and treat it accordingly. Here are some symptoms you need to look for in your infant to know if he has an eye infection.
Symptoms of an Eye Infection
Newborns are equally susceptible to eye infections as adults. Typically, eye infections may be of bacterial or viral nature. Look for these symptoms if you think your little one has an eye infection.
Redness in the white part of the eye or inside the eyelids indicates your little one may be suffering from a viral eye infection.
Any yellow discharge from the eye means the eye infection is bacterial. Make sure to the cleanse the area and wipe away any discharge.
Puffy eyelids indicate the baby most likely has a viral eye infection.
4. Matted Eyelids
If your baby has matted eyelids, or you notice the eyelids stuck together, the eye infection is bacterial in nature. Gently get rid of the buildup to ease discomfort.
5. Watery Eyes
Watery eyes indicate a viral infection in your little one. This can also lead to itchiness and dryness. Wash the eyes and keep the area clean.
Why Are Home Remedies Preferred for Eye Infections in Infants?
When an infant suffers from an eye infection, his threshold to bear painful symptoms is quite low, which can cause him to get extremely upset and start crying. Though there may be eye drops that you use for yourself, they may not necessarily be the right choice for your baby. You could take your baby to the doctor for an eye checkup and then get a recommendation, but until then, your baby will most likely be unable to bear the discomfort.
Home remedies are based on natural alternatives and are rarely harmful to the baby. Even if they don’t end up treating the infection, they can provide some relief, which can calm the toddler and let you easily take him to the doctor for further examination.
Best 10 Home Remedies for Eye Infection in Babies
Here are some common remedies for eye infection in babies.
1. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile oil has many health benefits. There are various anti-inflammatory constituents inherent in the oil, making it a great option to treat eye infections. However, essential oils are highly concentrated, so they should not be used around eyes even in the diluted form because your baby’s skin is sensitive and he can experience a burning sensation and irritation when applied around his eyes. Therefore, avoid applying it directly to your baby’s eyes, but if you wish to use it, better to diffuse it by adding a couple of drops of the oil in a humidifier or in some steaming water and keeping it a safe distance away from the baby. The vapours can bring some relief from the irritation caused by the infection. Also, ensure the room is well ventilated, and the vapours are mild.
2. Salt Water
Sea salt plays an important role in this regard. The salt, in itself, is a good cleansing agent and contains various constituents that make it a great antibiotic. Adding one spoon of salt to a couple of cups of water, and warming them together, forms a solution that is great to treat an eye infection. The baby’s eyes can be washed using this solution since it will remove any discharge or solidified crusts in the eye. On the other hand, cotton swabs dipped in the water can be placed on the baby’s eye to reduce infection.
3. Breast Milk
This might sound unusual at first, but breast milk is, in fact, a good way to provide a soothing effect when your little one has an eye infection. We strongly recommend you consult a physician for any eye infections; however, you can soak a cotton wool pad in breast milk and dab it around eyes to provide some relief to your child till you reach the clinic/hospital.
4. Eyebright Plant
This plant genus is well-known in treating various infections, including eye infections. The plant contains a lot of cleansing properties that reduce itching in the eyes. Combined with anti-allergic constituents, it actively helps in reducing swollen eyes, too. A little eyebright in 2 cups of water when boiled, is a solution that can be used to put cotton balls in. Make sure to squeeze out the water and then place the balls on your baby’s eyes. It is effective to heal minor ailments like redness, and itching in the eyes.
5. Warm and Cold Water
The quickest way to bring relief from an eye infection is by making use of water. Washing the eyes with some cool water brings instant relief and can flush out any tiny particles that might be inside it. Then, soak sterile cotton balls in warm water and gently place them on your baby’s eyes for a while. The temperature change can help combat the infection, as well as take care of any discharge. This remedy can lead to a substantial reduction in swelling and pain.
6. Tea Bag
Tea is known to have many anti-microbial and antioxidant properties that benefit the body when consumed. These can also be applicable for treating an eye infection. Dipping the tea bag in warm water, and then letting it cool activates the constituents of the tea. This tea bag can then be placed on each eye, alternately, soothing it from the pain of the infection.
7. Jasmine Flower
This is one of the most popular natural coolants that is a part of various natural beauty remedies as well. Jasmine water is known to soothe the skin and the eyes. By letting the jasmine flowers sit in distilled water overnight, the water can then be put in the eye using a dropper. The soothing sensation brings quick relief from the inflammation in the eye due to an infection.
Strong bacteria can cause certain eye infections, and the usual home remedies may not be effective against them. In such cases, the best option is to make use of antibiotics to combat infectious bacteria directly. Your doctor might recommend baby safe ointments or drops. Any yellow coloured secretion that might occur near the eye should be removed using cotton swabs soaked in salt water.
Sometimes, the eye gets irritated when the tear duct does not have a clear passage or has some blockage in its way. In these cases, it is good to warm your fingers and softly massage the area between the eye and the nasal bridge. The warmth of the fingers helps dislodge anything stuck in the path, clearing up the tear duct.
10. Infection at Birth
Many times, doctors, themselves, administer eye drops to a child to protect them from any infection that they might be susceptible to right after birth. These drops can be quite sensitive to the newborn’s eyes and cause extreme irritation. In such cases, there is no action one can take or needs to takem and the irritation goes away in its own time.
Baby’s have sensitive eyes, and any infection or irritation can cause him to become upset right away. By aiming to soothe the pain and bringing relief to the infant, you can then check what the cause of the infection is and make use of the right remedies or consult your paediatrician accordingly.
References and Resources: Healthline
Also Read: Eye Problems in Babies