Can Pink Eye Cause Diaper Rash?

  • By: Julie Miller
  • Time to read: 8 min.

It’s no secret that a baby’s immune system isn’t as strong as an adult’s. This is why it’s so important to keep them away from things that could potentially make them sick.

One of the most common childhood illnesses is pink eye, but did you know that yes, it can also lead to diaper rash?

In this blog post, we will explore the link between these two conditions and discuss ways to prevent them both.

What Is Pink Eye?

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the clear tissue that covers the white part of the eye and lines your inner eyelid. It is one of the most common eye infections affecting younger children.

When this tissue becomes irritated, it can cause blood vessels to swell and turn your eye pink or red.

Pink eye is usually accompanied by itchiness, redness, and a burning sensation. It can also cause your eyes to water more than usual and make them feel gritty.

What Causes Pink Eye in Babies and Toddlers?

There are three main types of pink eye: viral, bacterial, and allergic reactions. Viral and bacterial infections are the most common but allergic pink eye can happen too.

  • Viral pink eye is caused by a virus, such as the common cold virus or the flu virus. It is the most contagious type of pink eye and can spread quickly through coughing and sneezing.
  • Bacterial pink eye is caused by bacterial infections, such as staphylococcus or streptococcus. It is less contagious than the viral pink eye but can still spread through close contact with an infected person.
  • Allergic pink eye is caused by an allergic reaction to something in the environment, such as pollen, dust, or animal dander. It is not contagious and usually affects both eyes.

If you suspect your child has pink eye, it is important to see a doctor so that the correct treatment can be prescribed. viral pink eye usually clears up on its own within one to two weeks, but bacterial and allergic pink eye may require medication.

How Do Babies Get Pink Eye?

Babies are more susceptible to pink eye because their body’s immune system is not yet fully developed. Blocked tear ducts can also cause pink eye in babies.

If the mother has a sexually transmitted disease such as herpes infection and chlamydia, there is a chance that the baby could contract it and develop pink eye or chlamydial conjunctivitis. Additionally, if the mother has normal bacteria in her birth canal, the baby could be exposed to it during birth and develop pink eye.

The best way to prevent pink eye in babies is for the mother to get tested and treated for any sexually transmitted diseases before giving birth. Additionally, mothers should make sure to clean their vaginal area before giving birth.

In extremely rare cases, babies may develop chemical conjunctivitis as a side effect from eye drops given at birth.

What Are the Symptoms of Pink Eye in Babies and Toddlers?

Pink eye symptoms can vary, but the most common symptoms are a light pink or red color in the whites of the eyes, and a slightly bloodshot appearance.

Other symptoms include watery or discharge from the eye and a feeling of itchiness or irritation. It may also be accompanied by an ear infection.

Pink eye usually starts in one eye, but can quickly spread to the other. If your child has any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact your pediatrician.

While pink eye is usually not serious and considered a mild infection, it can sometimes lead to more complications such as extreme light sensitivity and vision loss, so it’s important to have it checked out.

Depending on the cause of the pink eye, other symptoms may appear.

Bacterial Pink Eye

Most babies with bacterial conjunctivitis caused by bacterial infections have a thick, purulent discharge which is a sign of a bacterial infection. This eye discharge is usually white or yellow and may make their eyelids stick together.

They may also have redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that covers the white part of your eye, and the inside of your eyelids. Their eyes may water more than usual and be itchy and sore.

Bacterial pink eye usually affects both eyes. They may also have symptoms of a cold, such as a runny nose, sneezing, or a cough.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually mild and goes away in a few days without treatment. However, it can sometimes lead to more serious problems. In rare cases, the bacteria can spread to your cornea. This can cause an eye infection that leads to vision problems.

Viral Conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is a viral infection that affects the eyes. These are the same virus that cause upper respiratory infections such as colds as well as ear infections. The most common symptoms of viral conjunctivitis are redness, itching, and watering of the baby’s eyes.

Other symptoms may include cold and flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and headache.

Viral conjunctivitis is usually mild and self-limiting, meaning it will resolve on its own without treatment. However, severe cases may require medical treatment. If you think you may have viral conjunctivitis, it is important to see a doctor so that they can rule out other more serious conditions.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

If your baby has allergic conjunctivitis, your baby’s eye will feel watery and itchy. She may also have red, swollen eyes. These symptoms happen when your baby’s eye comes into contact with allergy triggers, such as pollen or pet dander.

Allergic pink eye is common in people who have other allergies, such as hay fever. If she has allergic conjunctivitis, she may also have a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing.

There are two types of allergic conjunctivitis: seasonal and perennial.

Seasonal allergic pink eye symptoms happen when your eyes come into contact with pollen. This type of allergic conjunctivitis is more common in the spring and summer.

Perennial allergic pink eye symptoms happen when your eyes come into contact with an allergen that is present all year round, such as pet dander or dust mites.

Is Pink Eye Contagious?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pink eye is extremely contagious. It is very easy to spread contagious conjunctivitis, especially through contact with contaminated surfaces or hands. There are two types of pink eye, viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, both of which are very contagious.

If your baby has pink eye, you may be wondering how long it will last and if she can spread it to others.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pink eye is usually contagious for as long as you have symptoms, which include tearing and matted eyes. However, good hygiene can help prevent the spread of pink eye.

If your baby has pink eye, be sure to wash her hands frequently and avoid touching her eyes. You should also clean any surfaces that she may have come into contact with her infected eye.

How to Treat Pink Eye

Treatment depends on the cause and the type of pink eye.

Pink Eye Caused by Bacterial Infection

If you or your child has bacterial pink eye or infectious conjunctivitis, it’s important to seek medical treatment right away. The infection can spread quickly and cause serious complications.

Fortunately, bacterial pink eye is usually easy to treat with antibiotics such as antibiotic eye drops. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotic drops or ointment that you’ll need to use for several days. It’s important to follow the instructions carefully and finish the entire course of eye drops treatment, even if your symptoms improve.

Viral Pink Eye

If your child has viral pink eye, topical antibiotics treatment won’t work. Fortunately, there are home remedies that can help ease the symptoms. These home remedies include warm compresses and cotton balls.

If your baby has pink eye, it’s important to keep the affected eye clean at all times to avoid a serious infection. Wet a soft cloth with warm water can help remove any watery discharge from the eye. A cotton ball can also be used to apply pressure to the affected area.

It’s also important to avoid touching or rubbing the affected child’s eye. This can help prevent the spread of the infection.

For a very serious case of pink eye caused by viral infections such as the herpes virus, an antiviral medication may be prescribed.

Does Pink Eye Affect the Baby?

Yes, a case of pink eye can affect a baby. When a baby has pink eye, she may tend to be more irritable and restless due to the symptoms accompanied by this condition.

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is common in babies and young children. It’s usually caused by a virus, but can also be caused by bacteria. Pink eye can be serious but often goes away on its own within a week or two.

If your child has pink eye, they may need treatment. Your doctor can prescribe eye drops or ointment to help clear the infection.

Can I Hold My Baby if I Have Pink Eye?

No, you should not. Pink eye easily spreads and is contagious. The best thing you can do is to wash your hands and avoid contact with others. If you’re wearing contact lenses, you will be asked to not wear them until the infection is gone per the National Eye Institute.

Does Pink Eye Cause Diaper Rashes?

It’s possible for pink eye and diaper rash to occur at the same time. However, there are a few things that can help you determine whether or not the two are related.

For example, if your baby has been recently diagnosed with pink eye, it’s likely that the diaper rash is a result of the complication caused by the pink eye.

On the other hand, if your baby has had pink eye for a while and the diaper rash appears suddenly, it’s possible that the two are unrelated.

If you think that your baby’s pink eye and diaper rash may be related, there are a few things you can do to help ease their discomfort.

For example, you can use a warm compress to help soothe the irritation caused by the pink eye.

You can also try using a mild hypoallergenic cleanser or warm water on your baby’s diaper area if the diaper rash is severe. Also, you can keep the diaper area clean and dry at all times to avoid a yeast diaper rash caused by a yeast infection. Yeast rashes can be treated with antifungal creams or ointments.

Interestingly, some parents use breast milk for both pink eye and diape rashes.

Lastly, make sure to keep an eye on both the pink eye and the diaper rash to see if they improve or worsen over time. If you have any concerns, be sure to call your doctor.


It’s possible for pink eye and diaper rash to occur at the same time, but it’s not common. Fortunately, you can treat both at home. But if the symptoms of either pink eye or diaper rashes persist, you should call your doctor right away for professional medical advice.

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