Should a Child With Conjunctivitis Stay Home?

May 2, 2009

I read recently from a pediatrician that most conjunctivitis is bacterial ( she cited a few studies in her footnotes), and that children should stay home until asymptomatic.

In my experience, most conjunctivitis is viral. If studies show that eyes cultured grow staph epi or other bug, so what- all eyes are colonized, and I can’t imagine how any study can prove that a bug cultured from an eye is responsible for the conjunctivitis (which is why, I think, she did not cite any literature from any peer-reviewed ophthalmology literature). I was also taught that viral conj is contagious for about a week, regardless of any symptoms. So I advise that kids stay home for a week (mine just did this past week- he was so pleased!), unless I suspect the conjunctivitis is bacterial (thick, greenish discharge, unilateral etc.)- then they stay home until the eye clears up.




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