How long is pink eye contagious? My son's child care has a policy that children with pink eye stay home until they're no longer contagious.
Answer From Teresa Jensen, M.D.
Pink eye (conjunctivitis) generally remains contagious as long as your child is experiencing tearing and matted eyes. Signs and symptoms of pink eye usually improve within three to seven days. Check with your doctor if you have any questions about when your child can return to school or child care.
Keep in mind that pink eye is no more contagious than the common cold. It's OK to return to work, school or child care if you're not able to take time off — just stay consistent in practicing good hygiene, including hand-washing after touching the eyes.
July 11, 2020
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing
Our Housecall e-newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest health information.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
See more Expert Answers
- Jacobs DS. Conjunctivitis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed June 10, 2018.
- Conjunctivitis. American Optometric Association. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/conjunctivitis. Accessed June 10, 2018.
- Jensen TB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 19, 2017.