Daycare providers know all too well that the number one thing you can do is to keep your facility clean and free of germs. You probably already have a strict cleaning schedule and policies to promote good hygiene among yourself and the children in your care. And that’s why it’s crucial to have a pink eye policy in place. Here are some tips on creating a pink eye policy for your daycare.
What Is Pink Eye?
Pink eye is when the clear part that covers your eyeball and eyelid gets red and swollen. It might also itch or feel like there is something in your eye. Sometimes pink eye can cause gunk to form on your eyelashes overnight. The condition is widespread and can occur at any age. Both viral and bacterial infections can cause pink eye. Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type of pink eye, which is highly contagious and spreads easily.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pink Eye?
The most distinguishing symptom of pink eye is the pink or red coloration of the white part of the eye. Other symptoms can include itchiness, a burning sensation, increased tear production, and crusting around the eyelashes. In some cases, pink eye can also cause blurred vision. However, it is crucial to see a healthcare professional if you experience any sudden changes in your vision. Or if your pink eye symptoms do not go away after a few days. With prompt treatment, pink eye is usually not severe.
What Is The Treatment For Pink Eye?
The good news is that pink eye isn’t severe and will go away in about a week or two. However, if pink eye is caused by a bacterial infection, it will need to be treated with antibiotics. Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with antihistamines or artificial tears. For viral conjunctivitis, no specific treatment exists. Still, symptoms can be relieved with a warm compress, artificial tears or eye drops. If you suspect you have pink eye, you must see a doctor to properly diagnose and treat the cause. While not a serious condition, pink eye can be very uncomfortable and disruptive.
How To Prevent The Spread of Pink Eye.
Practicing good hygiene in your daycare is the best way to prevent pink eye from spreading. This means washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your eyes. If you must touch your eyes, wash your hands first. You should also avoid sharing towels, pillowcases, and other personal items with others. In addition, all surfaces that the infected individual’s eyes may have come into contact with must be cleaned. This includes door handles, light switches, toys, and countertops. By taking these easy steps, you can help to stop the spread of pink eye in home daycares.
Strep and Pink Eye
There are a few ways that pink eye and strep can be related. First, it is important to note that strep throat is caused by bacteria. In contrast, pink eye can be due to either bacteria or viruses. However, strep and pink eye can be contagious, so it is possible to contract both simultaneously if exposed to someone who has them. Additionally, pink eye can sometimes be a symptom of strep throat, so it is possible to develop pink eye due to strep. However, it is also worth noting that pink eye can be caused by several factors, so not every case is necessarily related to strep.
Pink Eye and Ear infection
Both pink eye and ear infections can be caused by the same virus, such as the adenovirus. In addition, both conditions can be contagious and may be spread from one person to another through close contact. Due to this, it is not uncommon for someone with pink eye to also develop an ear infection.
Daycare Conjunctivitis Policy
Contagious illnesses like pink eye can spread like wildfire in daycare settings. Illnesses like pink eye are unpredictable, so it’s critical to have a policy in place before one occurs. A pink eye policy should outline how you will deal with a child who comes to daycare with pink eye, as well as how to prevent the spread of the illness to other children and yourself.
Some critical components of a daycare conjunctivitis policy might include:
- Requiring parents to keep children home if they have any symptoms of pink eye (red, watery eyes, discharge, etc.)
- Asking parents to provide a doctor’s note clearing their child to return to daycare after being treated for pink eye
- Having a separate area for a child with pink eye to minimize contact with other children until parents can pick up the child.
- Disinfecting toys, surfaces, and other areas that might be contaminated
Example Of A Daycare Pink Eye Policy
Children with Pink Eye/Conjunctivitis are not allowed to attend daycare. Eyes that are red, weeping with drainage or crusty with discharge will be sent home immediately. We ask that children stay home until symptoms have cleared. Doctor’s notices will not be accepted.
A well-written daycare pink eye policy can help you effectively deal with an outbreak of pink eye at your facility. This policy should be part of your overall daycare sickness policy. Find more information on daycare policies and procedures HERE. Finally, by following some simple steps, you can decrease the likelihood of this infection being passed around your daycare and help keep everyone healthy.