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Sty In Babies – Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

4 min read

Parents need to have a better understanding on possible infections that may affect their babies. The sudden appearance of a pus-filled red bump on the eyelid of your little one can be both alarming and an unpleasant sight. But there is no need to panic as it could simply be an irritation, which can be resolved with some home remedies itself.
sty in babies
However, it is always better to have a good knowledge about any medical condition that your baby experiences, even though it may be harmless. This article will help you to get a better idea on a sty, which is a minor eye infection that may affect your baby.

What Is A Sty?

A Sty, also known as Hordeolum, is a common eye infection that happens when the bacteria (staphylococcus aureus) infects the oil glands present at the base of the eyelashes. Generally, it appears as a red, pus-filled lump on upper or lower eyelid. It can occur on the outside or inside of the eyelid. Either ways, it is always found on the edge of the eyelid from where the eyelashes start to grow.

What Are The Symptoms Of Sty In Babies?

The first sign of a sty is the appearance of a red bump at the edge of the eyelid which may look similar to a pimple. The bump starts to increase in size gradually. Yellow discharge also oozes through the boil, making the eyelid of the baby crusty.
The baby mostly shows irritation, not because of pain, but due to the presence of small hard mass beneath or on the eyelid.

What Causes Sty In Babies?

A sty is a bacterial infection. Normally the bacteria alone is not the cause of infection. There are other ways for entry of these microbes into the eye. It can be caused:

  • If the baby rubs and scratches the eye with dirty hands
  • Plays with dirty water that gets into the eye
  • Dirty towels have been used to clean the baby’s eye. Some pointers on taking care of your baby’s eyes

The bacteria gets into the area of the hair follicle of eyelashes and to the ducts of numerous sebaceous glands that are present in the eyelid. As a result these glands become blocked. The bacteria infects the secretion of the gland that accumulates inside the ducts resulting in the formation of a reddish bump.

How Is The Sty In Babies Diagnosed?

General eye examination alone is required to diagnose the sty in babies.

What Are The Treatment Options For Sty In Babies?

Even though the sty go away within a week or so, here are some treatment options and steps that help to ease the irritation in your baby and speed up the healing process:

  • Use warm compress over your baby’s eyelid: You can use a flannel dipped in warm water. Press it gently against the bump for about ten minutes. Repeat it four to five times a day for several days. If the baby does not allow, do it when he is asleep. This home remedy helps the clogged oil in the bump to liquefy and eventually drain off thus curing the sty
  • Never meddle with the sty: Never attempt to apply pressure on the sty by squeezing and popping it in order to drain out the pus. It not only causes severe pain but also aggravates the infection
  • Clean the affected area thoroughly: With the help of a sterilized cotton wool or a clean soft cloth, clean the affected eyelid thoroughly three to four times in a day. You can even dilute tearless baby shampoo with water for better cleaning
  • Ointments: If the infection starts to spread in both eyelids, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic ointments and oral antibiotics to treat it
  • Open and drain the sty: This decision will be taken by the doctor if the infection is very severe and not subsiding even after trying out all the above treatment options. It will be done to prevent the sty from growing into something more serious like periorbital cellulitis

Sty in baby

When Should I Seek Medical Attention If My Baby Has A Sty?

Though sty is comparatively a harmless eye infection that can be resolved with home remedies, if proper care is not given, it can lead to more serious eye infection. Therefore, take your baby to the doctor if:

  • The baby is less than 4 months old
  • If the infection spreads on both upper and lower eyelids
  • If the lump does not disappear even after using warm compress for a week
  • More than one sty appears at a time
  • Another sty appears immediately after the first one has healed
How To Prevent Sty In Babies?

There are no foolproof measures to prevent infections in babies, as infants are more prone to infections. It is applicable when it comes to sty also. However, following personal hygiene tips may help to keep sty at bay to certain extent:

  • Washing your baby’s hands frequently
  • Washing your hands before feeding, bathing or touching your baby
  • Never share your baby’s towel with anyone
  • Use a separate face towel for your baby and don’t use the same as a body towel

If your baby has got sty in one eye, then you should take the following preventive measures to stop it from spreading to the other eye:

  • Wash your baby’s hands more often
  • Never let him touch the infected eye
  • Always clean the uninfected eye also in the same way as you clean the infected eye (but obviously with new cotton swab and liquid)

So take good care of the eyes of your baby so that he is cured soon.

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