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 Kevin D. Chodnicki, M.D.
Pink eye (conjunctivitis) generally remains contagious as long as your child has tearing and matted eyes. Pink eye is commonly caused by viruses or bacteria. Depending on the cause of your child's pink eye, signs and symptoms usually improve within a few days to two weeks.
Good hygiene — including hand-washing, avoiding close contact with others, and not sharing towels or pillowcases — is important. It may be okay to return to school or child care if your child does not have a fever, can practice good hygiene, and can avoid close contact with others.
Children who are not able to practice good hygiene or can't avoid close contact with others should stay home until symptoms clear up. Check with your health care provider if you have any questions about when your child can return to school or child care.
Kevin D. Chodnicki, M.D.
July 02, 2022
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips, current health topics, and expertise on managing health. Click here for an email preview.
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!
You'll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox.
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 1, 2022.
- Conjunctivitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/conjunctivitis/index.html. Accessed June 1, 2022.
- Chodnicki KD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. June 1, 2022.