Medical Conditions



Sty

Print, Share, or View Spanish version of this article

What is a sty?

A mild infection of a gland in the eyelid at the base of the eyelashes

What are the signs or symptoms?

  • Mild pain and a red bump at or near the edge of the eyelid.

  • Styes may enlarge and burst and spontaneously drain.

  • Styes are different than chalazions, which are caused by inflammation or an infection of an oil gland in the eyelid. Chalazions are not typically red or tender, do not spontaneously drain, and may persist for months.

What are the incubation and contagious periods?

  • Incubation period: Unknown.

  • Contagious period: Styes may drain pus that contains bacteria. This could be contagious to others, but the drainage period is usually brief.

How is it spread?

It does not spread from one person to another.

How do you control it?

  • Use good hand-hygiene technique at all the times listed in Chapter 2.

  • Avoid rubbing, which may spread the infection to the other eye.

  • Styes will resolve most quickly by applying a warm compress (eg, with a wet paper towel wrapped around a plastic bag of warm water) for 10 minutes, 3 or 4 times daily. This usually results in spontaneous drainage.

  • Occasionally, a sty may progress to a more widespread infection, called cellulitis, indicated by surrounding redness and swelling of the lid. Any spreading redness and swelling of the eyelid requires immediate medical attention.

What are the roles of the teacher/caregiver and the family?

  • Use good hand-hygiene technique at all the times listed in Chapter 2.

  • Review of Standard Precautions, particularly hand hygiene.

  • Identify children with red or draining eye lesions, report this to parents/guardians, and recommend they seek care from their child’s health care provider.

Exclude from group setting?

No, unless

  • The eye is actively draining. It is impractical to cover the eye for an extended period.

  • The child is unable to participate and staff members determine they cannot care for the child without compromising their ability to care for the health and safety of the other children in the group.

  • The child meets other exclusion criteria.

Readmit to group setting?

Yes, when all the following criteria have been met:

When exclusion criteria are resolved, the child is able to participate, and staff members determine they can care for the child without compromising their ability to care for the health and safety of the other children in the group

Listing of resources does not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is not responsible for the content of external resources. Information was current at the time of publication.

The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Quick Reference Sheet from Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide.

© 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.

Health Center

Portal Forms & Policies Our Providers Office Info Home Image Map