There are two real challenges with pink-eye. First is that it is highly contagious which creates the second challenge. Your child cannot go to school until it is cleared up. Conjunctivitis generally starts in one eye and is then spread to the other within 2-3 days. When working holistically it is helpful to treat both eyes to help minimize the chance of both eyes becoming involved.
Caidin spent the first six years of his life growing up in New York City. The sheer magnitude of people, made germs, bugs and virus a constant concern. Whether daycare or school we frequently received notices that a child in Caidin’s class had pink-eye. Caidin had pink-eye once, but I on the other hand have contracted it a few times. The problem with pink-eye is that it is highly contagious. It can spread by wiping your eye and then touching the door knob or the toothpaste and the next person who touches those objects and then touches their eyes has pink-eye too.
With this in mind, washing your hands is one of the best defenses against getting pink-eye or any other virus. When we come in the house we immediately wash our hands, this alone cuts down on a lot of bugs making their way into our home and our bodies.
There are several types of conjunctivitis; viral, bacterial, allergic and chemical. Viral and bacterial require staying home from school as they are contagious. Viral and allergic will oftentimes include watery eyes; where bacterial and allergic may result in swollen eyelids. We have had both viral and bacterial and treated them naturally. Viral comes with a clear watery discharge and bacterial comes with a thick yellow –green discharge. Western Medicine will prescribe an antibiotic eye drop or salve if the cause is bacterial. Dr. Stephen Cummings M.D., co-author of Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines, states that “These infections are not dangerous as long as they do not move into deeper layers of the eye, an uncommon occurrence. Even without treatment they clear up within ten days or so.”
Here are several natural approaches to supporting conjunctivitis.
Please remember that you are responsible for your own health and that of your child’s. This information is offered as support, but it is your responsibility to confer with whomever you need to confer with to assure the health and safety of yourself and your child.
Eye Baths – We have an eye cup that comes in handy for flushing out the eye (be it for sand in the eye or when there is a need to soothe the eye as in this case). In some cases the eye may feel better with a warm flush and in others a cool flush will provide relief. Be sure to sterilize the cup after using it each time. Let it soak in a 50/50 solution of water and freshly poured 3% hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes and then rinse with hot water.
Warm/Cool Compress – again each case will be different. In some situations warm feels better in other cool, either way, applying a wet cloth to the irritated eye(s) can offer great comfort. Be sure to switch cloths so as not to re-infect the eye as healing occurs. Germs will sit on the cloth, so soak in a 50/50 solution of water and 3% hydrogen peroxide before throwing in the wash.
When Caidin or I have gotten pink-eye the remedy that works wonders is Castor Oil. It is a phenomenal natural healer. Castor Oil, in this case, acts as an anti-toxin. By placing a dab of castor oil in the corner of the eye before bedtime, it both soothes the eye and pulls the infection out. In the morning expect a lot of goop and continue with the castor oil until the eye is cleared up.
Apis: if swelling is extreme and heat aggravates rather than comforts. Hot tears may stream from the eyes.
Belladonna : addresses redness, burning and sensation of grittiness
Euphrasia: helps with watery discharge
Hepar sulphuris: helps with redness and stinging
Mercurius – when there is yellow-green discharge (discharge irritates the skin )
Pulsatilla – when there is yellow-green discharge (discharge does not irritate the skin)
Eyebright (Euphrasia) – Eyebright is an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory often used for any type of eye ailment.– use as an eye wash or compress. There are manufactured eye washes containing Eye Bright or you can steep eye bright tea, let it cool before using. If warmth comforts the eye, use it warm, otherwise let it cool complete before using.
Golden Seal – Among many other properties Golden Seal is known as an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory making it a helpful herb in healing conjunctivitis. Use as an eye wash or compress. Use the root to make a decoction or if you choose to use the powder, be sure to strain well to remove all particles. In the case of a powder I use a cotton heat seal-able tea bag to place the powder in for steeping. This minimizes the amount of sediments that get into the water. Once the root or powder is steeped pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer, then strain once again through cheese cloth. Allow the liquid to sit and cool; as it sits, if sediments still remain they will settle to the bottom, in this case, strain again until all sediments are removed. (For this reason, I prefer working with the root rather than a powder).
 Stephen Cummings, M.D. and Dana Ullman, M.P.H., Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines, (Putnam Books 1991) 86.
This information is from Christine Agro’s book “The Conscious Mom’s Guide(TM) to Natural Healing and First Aid for Kids” The book is due out in 2012/2013.
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© 2012 Christine Agro
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Christine Agro is a Clairvoyant, Naturopath, Master Herbalist, Conscious Mom and Author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine, invite her to speak or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.