Saturday, August 08, 2009


The Barracuda was born incredibly late (20 days) and having aspirated dirty fluid he was bluish-purple from lack of oxygen. After a few rounds of antibiotics this was no big deal. However, now anytime he even remotely gets sick, he begins to cough and wheeze. This is one of those secret parent things you just know about your kid. Well, a couple of days ago The Barracuda started coughing a bit. Parental Spidey-senses began to go off when the coughing didn't stop after about two days and was specifically strong when he began to get tired. Sick was coming.

Only, he didn't get sick. Nothing really happened other than this weird little cough. More parental-Spidey senses started flaring. This was weird. Thursday it became apparent what was going on. The Barracuda's right eye was getting weepy. Weepy then turned into goopy. Goopy then turned into completely gross. He has conjunctivitis, commonly known as Pink Eye. Pink eye can mean lots of things, but mainly the lining of the eye lids gets infected with either a viral or bacterial infection. This causes the red, itchy, sore eyes along with tearing and goopiness.

My mother completely freaked out when I got pink eye as a child. She equally freaked out when my brother got it a year or so later. Jules never got pink eye due to the extent his parents freaked out when anyone in the neighborhood or anyone three neighborhoods around them got pink eye. Trying desperately to learn from some of our parents' behaviors, Jules and I proceeded calmly to Safeway for some eye drops.

This morning I searched the Internet, in further attempts to not freak out, and found that Pink eye is incredibly common in children. In fact, it is no reason to freak out at all. Most conjunctivitis goes away by itself after 5-10 days. Pheew! If you catch it early, it is relatively easy to take care of and doesn't get very bad.

However, it is obnoxiously contagious (and down right disgusting). We are going to be doing at least one load of laundry every day or two. You get to wash EVERYTHING that comes into contact with the child (or adult's) face. Washcloths, pillowcases, blankets, clothes....everything. Equally wonderful to this task is that if one child gets it the parents, siblings, and friends of the child will probably get it too. No school or playground for The Barracuda.

Not being doctor people, it was off to the herbal store for a little VooDoo medicine and some Eyebright (Orobanchaceae Euphrasia). Just as it sounds, Eyebright is used to help with most any conditions of the eye. Most herbalists consider it to be the best eye relief out there. It stimulates the liver to detoxify and cool inflammations. It can also be used to help with the effects of allergies and hay fever. It is most useful when taken internally, and brewed as a tea. Combine 1/2 ounce of dried Eyebright with 1 pint of water. Steep for twenty minutes and drink. By combining it with a little honey the taste is less severe. Drink the tea liberally for a few days to relieve most any eye problems.Eyebright also makes a great eyewash externally for sties, conjunctivitis, or other eye sores. To make this combine 1 ounce of Eyebright for every pint of water and steep for twenty minutes. Soak a washcloth and place directly over eyes for five to ten minutes. It can also be used like drops, but be sure to cool it completely!
Information acquired from

As for the Barracuda, we aren't going to do any compresses for him. Asking him to sit with a towel over his eyes for five complete minutes without touching or wiggling is just ridiculous. Childrens' Eyebright can be found at most any natural market place. We picked up some concentrate for The Barracuda because it usually tastes better and we are trying our best to have him not fight medicine. As he gets older and can better understand why he is taking it, the taste can become a little less sugar-filled. A few drops of concentrate in a shot glass with some juice or water and he is good to go. This he has no problem with, especially if we use a fancy shot glass of his dad's and make him feel very adult about the medicine he gets to take. That's right, we are not above coersion!

The Barracuda's eye isn't red, itchy, or sore. Mainly it is just gross. With frequent washings and a few doses of Eyebright, along with drops, he is doing just fine.

Warning: In some cases, Pink Eye can cause blindness and other really, really bad things, but you have to ignore it (and its worsening) for 2 weeks to a month. If your condition is worsening or you are experiencing any pain, loss or blurry vision, or it is just plain getting bad go to the doctor. Polysporin drops can only be prescribed but will clear the condition fast. As Jules said, "If you ignore how disgusting your eye is for a month, you kinda deserve to go blind."

Update: Both Jules and I started to feel as though our eyes were "sandy" about six days after The Barracuda become full blown disgusting. Like with most herbal remedies, catching it early made all the difference. We jumped right on Eyebright drops for both of us and nothing developed. Jules' didn't even have to miss a day of work (though his principal kept quite a good watch on him).

2 thoughts:

renee @ FIMBY said...

Cool - about you & Jules avoiding it by catching it early. That's where the battle is most likely to won with these "alternative" therapies.

Granola Girl said...

We have fallen in love with your Comfrey poultice. Jules breaks himself regularly by not listening when his back begins to ache. Ache turns into total pain and avoidance of the chiropractor. At some point, he hurts so bad he actually goes, but until then we now have comfrey to help :) Thanks!

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