Eye - Pus or Discharge

Disponible En Espanol

Care at Home

  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:   * Bacterial eye infections are common with colds. * They respond to home treatment with antibiotic eyedrops which need a prescription. * They are not harmful to vision. * Until you get some antibiotic eye drops, here is some advice that should help.
  • REMOVE PUS: * Remove all the dried and liquid pus from the eyelids. Use warm water and wet cotton balls to do this. * Do this whenever pus is seen on the eyelids. * Also, remove the pus before the antibiotic eye drops are put in. Reason: They will not work if you don't. * The pus can spread infection to others. So, dispose of it carefully. * Wash your hands well after any contact with the pus.
  • CONTACT LENSES: * Children who wear contact lenses need to switch to glasses for a while. * Reason: To prevent damage to the cornea. * Disinfect the contacts before wearing them again. * Discard them if they are disposable.
  • RETURN TO SCHOOL: * Your child can return to school when the pus is a small amount. * Antibiotic eyedrops should be used for 24 hours before going back. * The antibiotic eyedrops can be used for other family members. Use only if they develop the same symptoms.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * With treatment, the yellow discharge should clear up in 3 days. * The red eyes may last up to a week.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Eyelid gets red or swollen * Your child becomes worse
  • ANTIBIOTIC EYE DROPS: HOW TO GIVE * For a cooperative child, gently pull down on the lower lid. Put 1 drop inside the lower lid. Then ask your child to close the eye for 2 minutes. Reason: So the medicine will get into the tissues. * For a child who won't open his eye, have him lie down. Put 1 drop over the inner corner of the eye. If your child opens the eye or blinks, the eye drop will flow in. If he doesn't open the eye, the drop will slowly seep into the eye.


The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
    • You can have a conversation with your child's doctor.
    • Your child's doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

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