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Is swimming safe when diagnosed with conjunctivitis?

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Posted on Mon, 25 Jul 2016
Question: My son has conjunctivitis. Should he stay out of the pool?
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (30 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Avoid pool until symptoms are gone.

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

It is best for him to stay out of the pool until the conjunctivitis clears because the chlorine or other pool treatment can irritate the already irritated and inflamed conjunctiva.

In addition to the antibiotic drops that he was prescribed, applying moist heat (as much as a 1 year old will let you!) can speed resolution of the infection. This works for either viral conjunctivitis (which does not respond to antibiotic drops) and bacterial conjunctivitis. If your son will let you, hold him up by the sink, and soak a wash cloth under very warm water and hold against his closed eye. When it cools, repeat. If you can do this a few times a day that is best.

I hope this information helps. Good luck.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3134 Questions

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Is swimming safe when diagnosed with conjunctivitis?

Brief Answer: Avoid pool until symptoms are gone. Detailed Answer: Hello and welcome, It is best for him to stay out of the pool until the conjunctivitis clears because the chlorine or other pool treatment can irritate the already irritated and inflamed conjunctiva. In addition to the antibiotic drops that he was prescribed, applying moist heat (as much as a 1 year old will let you!) can speed resolution of the infection. This works for either viral conjunctivitis (which does not respond to antibiotic drops) and bacterial conjunctivitis. If your son will let you, hold him up by the sink, and soak a wash cloth under very warm water and hold against his closed eye. When it cools, repeat. If you can do this a few times a day that is best. I hope this information helps. Good luck.