Pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, is inflammation of the conjunctiva (clear layer that covers the eye). This highly contagious infection is non-life threatening but should always be treated by a physician.
Pinkeye can be caused by allergies, viruses (common cold), bacteria and other irritants such as smoke and chemicals. It causes pain, swelling, redness, itching, burning, blurry vision and yellow mucus that can crust overnight.
Pinkeye is very easy to spread from person to person, especially in schools and daycare facilities. In order to prevent spreading pinkeye, follow these steps:
- Wash hands often
- Wash towels, washcloths, sheets, blankets and pillowcases in hot water
- Do not share towels or washcloths with someone who has pink eye
- Wear sunglasses and hats outside to protect particles from entering your eyes
- Wipe down/wash children’s toys frequently
- Do not share makeup, contact lenses or glasses
- Keep your child home from school or daycare
To relieve symptoms from pinkeye, follow these instructions:
- Do not wear makeup
- Take out contacts and throw away the infected pair and case
- Keep your eyes protected
- Over-the-counter eye drops to relieve burning and itching (do not use the same bottle in a non-infected eye)
- Do not rub or touch the eye
If you have any symptoms of pinkeye, contact your doctor. They will want to examine the eye to see if it is bacterial or viral. If it is bacterial conjunctivitis, your doctor may want to prescribe antibiotic eye drops and/or ointment, which will heal it within 2-3 days. If it is viral conjunctivitis, it should clear up in 7-10 days. Conjunctivitis caused by allergies or an irritant will only heal once you get your allergies treated or avoid the irritant. If you have allergy symptoms, schedule an appointment with an Allergist. You too can live symptom free!