Clearing Pink Eye, Naturally

A few weeks ago I woke up with blurry vision, not being able to make out the numbers on the alarm clock.  Looking in the mirror confirmed what I had expected, conjunctivitis (pink eye).  It's been 'going around', or so I heard when I called to cancel holiday get-togethers and appointments.  I remembered that in How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, Dr. Mendelsohn had suggested that just washing outside the eye area with pure water would be plenty to recover from conjunctivitis for most people. On page 158 he says, "In most cases your child's conjunctivitis will respond to gentle cleansing of the eyes with boiled (but not hot) water and a clean cloth."  He states that a trip to the doctor isn't necessarily immediately upon catching pink eye, though if the discharge persists for several days despite your efforts, a doctor visit and antibiotic drops may be warranted.

I tried his method of just using plain water, though I do have a supply of breast milk (also sterile) that I could have used if needed.  Honestly, I didn't boil the water, but used warm water from the tap, twice or three times a day, and rinsed my face well in the shower.  It seemed to work well, my right eye was affected first, and it was the worst on Tuesday and got progressively better until Friday when it was gone.  It did move to the left eye on Friday, but again with the same treatment was gone by Sunday morning.

My baby (13 months, who sleeps with me and is generally around me at all times) got a little crusty one day. I took him in the shower with me and cleaned the outside of his eyes well with a wet wash cloth and he seemed fine after that.  I was surprised that my 3-year-old (who isn't nursing any more) and husband didn't get so much as a hint of pink eye.

I didn't have pain associated with it, but if I did I would have treated with plain aspirin.

Conjunctivitis precautions that I took:
  • Pink eye is super contagious, so you do want to limit contact with people. You look awful and they aren't going to be around you anyway ~wink~
  • I normally re-use a wash cloth and towel for a week, hanging to dry between uses. I made sure to not use mine for the kids and I washed everyone's in hot water (we normally wash everything but diapers on cold) after each use while I had symptoms.
  • Eating well doesn't hurt, we ate a lot of homemade soup and squash, using coconut oil liberally.  I tend to focus on nutrition more than supplements or megadoses of vitamins to prevent illness.  Read about that in Eating to Stay Healthy This Winter
  • I upped the amount of fresh juice that we consumed.
What do you think? I remember being surprised when I read that pinkeye doesn't automatically warrant a trip to the doctor.  If I remember correctly from when I was a child, even with the antibiotic drops, it still took a couple days to clear, so my home remedy was just as effective and doesn't have side effects as antibiotic drops do.

Part of Finer Things Friday since home remedies that work, skipping trips to the doctor, and avoiding unnecessary medications really are finer things!
(part of Fight Back Friday) I am a Food RENEGADE!

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