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.

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July 02, 2022 See more Expert Answers