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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 delivery itself, due to the bacteria present in the birth canal. The eyes begin to swell, there will be itchiness, and your baby will be upset and irritated because of all these uncomfortable symptoms.
Symptoms of an Eye Infection
Newborns are equally susceptible to eye infections as adults. Typically, eye infections may be of bacterial or viral nature. Here are some of the symptoms to look out for.
Redness in the white part of the eye or inside the eyelids indicate 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 infants suffer from an eye infection, their threshold to bear painful symptoms is quite low and can cause them 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 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. It’s best to take a couple of cups of water and boil it along with a few drops of the oil. Later, this can be strained and the solution can be used to dip cotton balls in it. These cotton balls, when placed over the eye of the baby, bring quite some relief and is potent in treating the infection.
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 treat an eye infection. Mother’s milk already contains a lot of vitamins and nutrients, as well as tons of antibodies that help strengthen the baby’s immune system. Since these actively fight off infection, using a dropper to add a couple of drops of breast milk in the baby’s eye reduces any infection it might have. Breast milk is known to combat conjunctivitis as well.
4. Eyebright Plant
This plant genus is well-known in treating various infections, including an eye infection. The plant contains a lot of cleansing properties that reduce the itching in the eye. 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 the baby’s eyes.
5. Hot 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. Combine that with cotton swabs soaked in warm water, and the temperature change can help combat the infection, as well as take care of any discharge. There is a substantial reduction in swelling and pain, due to this.
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 can be used to soothe the eye as well. 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 due to the infection.
Certain eye infections can be caused by strong bacteria 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 the 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 take and the irritation goes away in its own time.
The eyes of a baby are extremely sensitive and an infection or irritation causes the baby to become upset right away. By aiming to soothe the pain and bring relief to the infant, you can then check what the cause of the infection is and make use of the right remedies or your doctor’s consultation, accordingly.
References and Resources: Healthline