A stye is a common condition among children which is due to a bacterial infection involving the oil glands. A toddler who wakes up in the morning with a crusty eye along with pus can be an annoyance, not only for the child but to the parents as well. In most cases, the infection resolves over time without any treatment but there are simple remedies that can help it clear at a faster rate.
Close look on a stye
A stye is simply an infection of an oil gland on the eyelid. Once it develops, it appears as a reddened lump filled with pus on the lower or upper eyelid. The pus is either white or yellowish and can ooze which causes a sticky drainage that crusts over at night time.
The infection is due to contamination with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. This form of bacteria is quite prevalent and does not cause infection. On the other hand, once a toddler with dirty hands rubs his/her eyes, the bacteria can infect the eyelid.
Styes can occur at any age but quite common in children than adults. Children have the tendency to rub their eyes and less likely to regularly wash hands before touching the face or eyes. In most cases, a stye can develop on only one eye or later on spread to both eyes due to cross-contamination.
How to deal with a stye
The infection responsible for the stye typically clears up within a few days without requiring any treatment. You can hasten the recovery by applying a warm compress to pull out the infection and promote drainage of the pus. In case the pus drains more rapidly, the swelling and redness subsides at a faster rate.
All you have to do is soak a towel or washcloth under warm water and wring out the excess. Apply it gently over the affected eye for about 10-15 minutes. The application can be repeated 3-4 times throughout the day until the pus drains.
It is important to note that styes are hard to prevent. Regular hand washing as well as proper hygiene are vital in preventing eye infections, but these measures are hard to introduce to toddlers.
You can prevent cross-contamination by making sure that the toddler washes his/her hands frequently. Always utilize a clean towel or washcloth when applying a warm compress and wash the used one using soapy, hot water and dry thoroughly using a dryer. Avoid using the same washcloth or towel to clean both of eyes or face of the toddler. In addition, make sure that the family members do not share towels.
Considerations to bear in mind
If a toddler develops a stye, it does not mean that he/she has to stay home. The daycare or school should be informed to assist the child in washing his/her hands throughout the day and avoid using the same towels and clothes of other children.
A stye rarely necessitates medical care but if it has not drained after a week of heat applications, whole eyelid becomes inflamed or reddened and the infection spreads to the other eye, a doctor should be consulted since it might require an antibiotic cream for the infection.